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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 839
                           Copyright (c) 2004
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        September 29, 2004       Succos         14 Tishrei, 5765

                             Joyful Dancing

Joyfulness is built into the name of the upcoming holiday of Simchat
Torah, which means "Rejoicing of the Torah." On that day, the end of the
Tishrei holiday season, we complete the yearly cycle of reading the
Torah and begin to read the Torah anew. And perhaps this is why the
Torah is rejoicing, because the spiral of reading - one year to the
next, the same yet ever higher - confirms our commitment to the Torah
and demonstrates its eternality.

So the Torah rejoices because the Jewish people once again embrace it.
Normally when we finish reading a book, we close it and put it aside.
It's been a "good read," we've learned a lot, we've spent time with its
ideas and message. But now it's time to go on to something else. Oh,
sure, if it's a great book, we may re-read it once or twice, maybe
because we missed something the first time around.

But  year in and year out, over and over? If we were to treat any other
book this way, people would say we're obsessed. And indeed, the only
justification for such a "compulsive" re-reading is that the book isn't
just a book, it's part of our self, part of our very souls.

When we read and re-read the Torah, we're not just retelling famous
stories from our family history, though there is that. We are engaging
in a dialogue with the essence of who we are. We are recounting,
re-examining - re-experiencing - that which makes us Jewish. When we
read the Torah we are reading our very souls, as it were.

So no wonder the Torah rejoices. It rejoices at this ultimate, intimate
rejoining of the Jewish people and G-d through - the renewal of reading
the Torah.

But the Torah can't rejoice alone - who rejoices alone at a wedding or
other siimcha? So we rejoice with it. Just as reading the Torah carries
us forth and forward spiritually, so our dancing with the Torah carries
it forth and forward physically. It moves us and we move it.

We might ask, of course, why isn't the holiday call the Dance of Torah?
After all, that's what we do with it. We dance. We whirl, leap and do
feats of terpsichorean dexterity. Aside from the actual service when we
complete and begin the reading of the Torah, that's what the holiday is
about - dancing.

Well, one reason we don't call it the Dance of Torah may be that
with-out dancing, of some kind, we can't have real rejoicing. So when we
say "Rejoicing of..." we automatically imply "dancing with..."

We can walk when we're sad. We can run when we're upset. But we can'
dance unless we're joyful. Joy that surpasses happiness. So when we say
"rejoicing" we assume "dancing." Rejoicing is the feeling; dancing is
the action.

And one thing we want to emphasize is not just our rejoicing, but the
Torah's rejoicing. The Torah, of course, can't dance without us; in
truth, we can't dance without it, either. But we're the ones with the
feet. And since in a sense this is as much the Torah's holiday as ours,
maybe more so, we place the emphasis on the emotional-spiritual bond,
the motive for the action.

We do so knowing that if we dance, we must rejoice - and if we rejoice,
we must dance.

And the Torah, too, on this day set aside for its rejoicing, must dance
- with us and through us.

We are commanded to rejoice during the festivals. The rejoicing during
the holiday of Sukkot reached its peak, in the times of the Holy Temple,
in the unbounded joy of the water-drawing celebrations (Simchat Beit

During the year, many offerings on the altar were accompanied by a
special pouring or libation of wine. On Sukkot, in addition to the
regular wine-offering, there was also a unique pouring of water. At that
time the assembled crowds broke into limitless, profound, ecstatic
rejoicing which continued for three days, and of which the sages said,
"Whoever has not seen the rejoicing of the water-drawing has never in
his life seen true joy!"

The Sages chose their words with care. They are not merely telling a
story, but giving a valuable lesson - that if one has not seen the
rejoicing of the Water-drawing, although he may think he has at times
participated in unbounded rejoicing, he is in error. His joyous
experience was in fact a superficial one. For, since he has never
witnessed the water-drawing, he is incapable of experiencing true joy.
This is the full significance of the above statement.

What does true joy entail? It entails breaking one's own bounds and
inhibitions, exceeding one's own limitations. At the wedding of an only
child, a normally reticent and taciturn father may become a voluble and
loquacious speaker. If a person has a rational, intelligent reason to be
happy, then his happiness is limited by the extent of his understanding.
But when he receives a reward or a gift that is "beyond his wildest
dreams," that his intelligence could not possibly have foreseen, when he
is moved by a cause that stems not merely from his understanding, but
from his very essence and being... then the resultant joy is similarly

In Temple times, wine was used as a libation. It was water, though,
which was the main ingredient of the water-drawing ceremony. Wine has a
taste, a flavor; water has no intrinsic flavor.  Wine and water have
their equivalents in spiritual life. When one is motivated to serve G-d
by intelligent reasoning and logic, such service is termed "wine"; one
savors the "taste" or "reason" for doing the mitzva. Service impelled by
a feeling of pure submissiveness to G-d, is called "water"; one cannot
relish the "flavor" of rationality in such service.

Truly limitless joy cannot come as a result of one's understanding and
intelligence - for they are limited. But when a person realizes that he
himself is limited, finite, he nullifies himself, he neutralizes his
ego.  In a spirit of total submissiveness he becomes one with limitless
G-d through the union of the mitzvah. Then he transcends his limitations
and can serve G-d with truly boundless joy.

Whoever has not seen the rejoicing of the water-drawing, has never in
his life seen true joy. Because the libation of water, as opposed to
wine, symbolizes the quality of submissiveness as opposed to the
intellect and rationality of wine.

                    Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                          Because of a Mitzva
                            by Gitty Munitz

It all began on a warm Sunday afternoon in the fall, the second day of
the Sukkot festival. Sunday was the first day on which the blessing over
the lulav and etrog could be recited as the first day of Sukkot was
Shabbat, when this mitzva is not performed.

My nephew Yossi Bryski, together with friends, were discussing where to
go in order to help their fellow Jews fulfill this mitzva that is unique
to the Sukkot holiday. They decided to go to Starrett City in Brooklyn,
about an hour walk away.

Upon arriving in Starrett City, a neighborhood comprised primarily of
apartment buildings, they entered the first building they saw. Quickly
scanning the Jewish sounding names on the directory, a friend noted one
in particular and said, "Hey, Yossi, look at this one. It's Belkin, your
wife's maiden name."

Yossi, however, was more focused on the mitzva at hand and ran up to the
first floor with his lulav and etrog and began knocking on doors. In one
apartment there was a party in progress, full of Jews who were quite
happy to shake the hand (and the lulav) of the enthusiastic young rabbi.
By the time Yossi worked his way through the entire crowd, it was really
getting late, and by all logic, it was time to start the long walk back
to Crown Heights. But something compelled him to keep going.

He ran up another flight of stairs. People were very friendly, but not
Jewish. One gentleman smiled sympathetically and said, "Sorry, Rabbi.
I'm not Jewish, but the lady in the apartment above me is."

"Thanks," called Yossi, as he dashed up to the third floor. He knocked
on the door of the apartment above and said who he was and what he
wanted. But alas the door remained locked. "No thanks. I'm not
interested." Said a voice through the door.

Oh well, thought Yossi, as he started to leave. He was about to climb
down the stairs when suddenly there was the sound of a chain being
pulled back, a door opening and the voice of a woman calling out, "Wait!
I've changed my mind!" Yossi ran back with the lulav and etrog and
helped her do the mitzva.

What's your name?" she asked afterward.

"Yossi Bryski," he replied.

"My name," she said, "is Galina Belkin." Suddenly Yossi remembered his
friend's words. "That's incredible!" said Yossi. "What Divine
Providence; my wife's name is Belkin! Maybe we're related. Where is your
husband from?"

She explained that her husband had died two years before, and she really
didn't know much about his family. Galina continued to tell Yossi about
herself. She was originally from Russia and she was a travel agent. She
handed him her business card. (Nice young man, potential customer, why

Yossi gave the card a fleeting glance and was about to stuff it in his
pocket as he headed for the stairs when he did a double-take. Her name,
on the card was "Galina Munitz." Shocked, Yossi said, "My mother's
maiden name is Munitz! What are some of the names in your family?" he

"My father was Laibel and his father was Alexander Sender."

"My great-grandfather was Alexander Sender!" whispered Yossi.

After a few seconds of listening to the names of Galina's relatives,
there was only one possible conclusion: "My mother has a long-lost first
cousin!" said Yossi wonderingly.

Yossi promised to get in touch with Galina when the holiday was over.
Then, he walked home with the other men, eager to relate the news to his
parents. You can imagine that when the story got out, it sent shock
waves throughout the entire Munitz family.

After the first days of the holiday were over, Yossi's mother, Sara
(Munitz) Bryski contacted our newly discovered first cousin Galina. She
quickly organized a mini-reunion, as my sister-in-law Devorah (Munitz)
Rodal, an emissary of the Rebbe in Italy, was leaving New York that same
night back to Milan.

Galina arrived at the Bryski home, which was spilling over with
Munitzes, together with her only child, Mark.

When my father-in-law, Reb Yisroel Meir Munitz passed away 24 years ago,
his brother Laibel (Galina's father) was still in Russia, behind the
Iron curtain and out of touch. Yisroel Meir surely thought his brother
was dead, and Laibel probably feared the same for his brother, Yisroel
Meir. Reb Yisroel Meir Munitz also had two other brothers. One was Yosef
Yitzchak who died of hunger in the siege of Leningrad, and the other was
Yeshaya and nobody knows what became of him. There was also a sister
named Emma who lived in Israel.

Laibel changed his name to Lev Alexandrovich (in memory of his father,
Sender Alexander) and moved to Rishon Litziyon in Israel, not knowing
that just a couple of miles away, in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, lived his
sister Emma. For the rest of his life, neither of them even imagined
that the other was still alive.

Laibel named his child Emma after his sister whom he thought he had lost
in the Holocaust. Galina named her only child after her uncle Yisroel
Meir, whom she thought had passed away, though at the time Mark was
born, Yisroel Meir Munitz was alive and well and living in Brooklyn.

Last year, the Munitz children - the seven sons and daughters of Reb
Yisroel Meir Munitz - found some brand new first cousins. And cousins
celebrate with each other, especially holidays! A family Chanuka party
was held and Galina and Mark came. Emma (Galina's sister) and her
husband also came with their only child, Michael. Imagine their
astonishment to find that we are all, thank G-d, blessed with large
families, including Devorah Rodal who has (bli ayin hora) 17 wonderful

I guess it took a young Lubavitcher chasid who was determined to walk a
couple of miles to help his fellow Jews do the mitzva of blessing the
lulav and etrog to bring about the reunion of a family that has been
separated for more than three decades!

                        Reprinted from the N'Shei Chabad Newsletter

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             PUBLIC SUKKOT

The Lubavitch Youth Organization provides public sukkot in three key
locations in New York City for those who work in or visit Manhattan: The
International Sukka at the U.N. - First Ave. and 43rd St.; the Garment
Center Sukka in Greeley Square across from Macy's; The Wall Street Area
Sukka in Battery Park - at State St. and Battery Pl. These sukkot will
be open during the intermediary days of the holiday from 10:00 a.m.
until sunset. For more information call (718) 778-6000. To find out
about public sukkot in your area call your local Chabad-Lubavitch

                              PLEASE NOTE

This issue of L'Chaim is for 16/23 Tishrei, 5765 -Oct. 1/8, 2004. The
next issue (#840) is for 30 Tishrei /Oct. 15, the Torah portion of

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       Freely translated letters
            The first day of Chol HaMoed Sukkos, 5705 [1944]

Greetings and blessings,

We received your letter and the text of your lecture concerning the
publications of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, at the appropriate time. We
ask your forgiveness for the fact that because of the large burden of
work - particularly at the beginning of the new school term - our reply
was delayed until the present. Enclosed is a reply from the editorial
board of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch....

To conclude with a matter relevant to these days between Yom Kippur and
Sukkos: The Maharil writes: Directly after Yom Kippur, every person
should be occupied with making his sukkah. For the days of teshuvah
[repentance] have been completed. On the first day where there is the
possibility of sin, heaven forbid, he should first begin with
involvement in a mitzvah [commandment]. The germ of this concept is
quoted by the Rama (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 624:5).

There is a deep concept alluded to here. When a person has repented for
his past conduct and he is concerned that he will not sin in the future,
the advice given him is: Occupy yourself with a sukkah.

The following mistaken approaches are the most common causes for an
upright person to sin:

    1. One thinks that the Torah and its mitzvos are relegated for
    specific times during the day and afterwards, he may do whatever he

    2. One thinks that the Torah and its mitzvos are applicable only to
    one of a person's limbs: his head (according to the understanding of
    Mussar, that Torah study is sufficient) or the heart ("G-d desires
    the heart." In this instance, one might err and think that the
    actual observance of the mitzvos is only secondary and not
    fundamentally important).

When one focuses one's thought on the mitzvah of sukkah, the first
mitzvah which follows the granting of atonement for our sins, one will
see that one must dwell in the sukkah as one lives in one's home (Sukkah
26a). For the mitzvah is a person's dwelling. It encompasses his entire
body from his feet until his head, including his garments and utensils
as well.

With holiday blessings and blessings for a g'mar tov [a good completion
(of Divine judgment)],

                                *  *  *

                        13 Tishrei, 5704 [1944]

Greetings and blessings,

...As our Sages comment in the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah, ch. 30), the
festival of Sukkos is the first day of the reckoning between the Holy
One, blessed be He, and the Jewish people after the atonement granted on
Yom Kippur. On that day, we are commanded (Vayikra 23:40): "And you
shall take for yourselves the fruit of a beautiful tree (the esrog),
palm branches, a bough of a thick-leaved tree (the myrtle), and willows
of the brook."

Our Sages comment in the Midrash:

These are the Jewish people. The esrog alludes to people who possess the
advantages of both Torah study and good deeds. The lulav alludes to
people who possess the advantages of Torah study, but not those of good
deeds. The myrtle alludes to people who possess the advantages of good
deeds, but not those of Torah study. The willow alludes to people who
possess neither the advantages of Torah study, nor good deeds. The Holy
One, blessed be He, says: "Bind them together as a single collective. At
that moment, I am upraised."

This reflects the advantage of a sichah [Torah talk] over a maamar
[Chasidic discourse], that it can inspire not only the people in the
category of the esrog and the lulav to become "beautiful," but that it
can affect the myrtle and even the willow. If there will be a person who
will apply himself to this purpose, such people can be made "beautiful"
and attractive through certain portions of the sichah, to the extent
that they will "form one collective entity - see Kerisus 6b which states
that any communal fast which does not include the sinners of Israel is
not a fast, as Amos 9:6 states: "And His collective...." - to perform
G-d's will with a full heart."...

With wishes for a happy holiday and [with the blessing,] "Immediately to
repentance, immediately to Redemption,"

                                          Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
                                Chairman of the Executive Committee

[P.S.] I am certain that my letter of Menachem Av 7 arrived at the
appropriate time.

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
18 Tishrei, 5765 - October 3, 2004

Positive Mitzva 1: Believing in G-d

This mitzva is based on the verse (Ex. 20:2) "I am the L-rd, your G-d"
We are commanded to believe in G-d, the Master Creator of the Universe.

Prohibition 1: You shall not believe that anything else has the power of
G-d except G-d.

This mitzva is based on the verse (Ex. 20:3) "You shall have no other
gods besides Me" This prohibition cautions us not to believe that
anything or anyone has the power of G-d, except for G-d.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This week we are celebrating the holiday of Sukkot. It is special in
many ways, teeming with mitzvot and customs with far-reaching spiritual

We were commanded by G-d to celebrate Sukkot as a reminder of the
sukkot-booths-in which we dwelled while in the Sinai desert. According
to some opinions, the sukka commemorates the actual booths and temporary
dwellings the Jews lived in. However, other opinions consider these
sukkot as a reminder of the Clouds of Glory with which G-d surrounded
and protected us during the sojourn in the desert. Obviously, the sukka
itself is a major aspect of the holiday.

It is not surprising, then, that our upcoming holiday is known almost
exclusively by the name Sukkot.

There are other mitzvot that we perform every day or most days of the
festival, though, such as blessing the lulav and etrog, and saying the
special "Hoshana" prayers. Why, one might ask, is the festival known
specifically for the mitzva of dwelling in the sukka?

The answer lies in the unique nature of the mitzva of sukka. Every other
mitzva a person performs involves a particular limb or part of the body:
tefillin, for instance, are wrapped around the head and arm; Shabbat
candles are lit using the hand; Prayers are said with the mouth.

The sukka, however, is different. It surrounds and encompasses the
entire person from head to toe. It envelops the person who sits within
its temporary walls with the holiness of the mitzva.

May the Jewish people merit to witness what we read in the "Grace After
Meals" on Sukkot, "May the Merciful One Restore for us the fallen Sukka
of David" and may we celebrate all together this year in Jerusalem with

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
In sukkot shall you dwell seven days

The sukka surrounds the entire person and one is enjoined to conduct all
worldly affairs within it for seven days. The fact that all of a
person's being is encompassed, including his very shoes, teaches us that
not only through prayer and study do we worship G-d. The sukka teaches
that it is also through the physical world that we approach G-d and draw
holiness into our surroundings, as it states, "in all your ways shall
you know Him." The mitzva of sukka strengthens our realization of this
and gives us the power to carry out our G-dly mission throughout the

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

                             Simchat Torah

One year, during the dancing on Simchat Torah, the Baal Shem Tov cried
out: "Yisrael, you holy people. What is the cause of your great joy? It
is our holy Torah! Do the other nations ever rejoice while holding their
sacred books? Where do they go in the time of their rejoicing - into
their pubs! And we, the Jewish people, where do you find us in the
season of our rejoicing? Inside the synagogues. And why are we dancing
and singing? In honor of the holy Torah. When are we united, as one man
with one heart? On Simchat Torah! Therefore, I say to you, Yisrael, my
holy people! This day is a triple joy - the joy of the Torah, the joy of
the Jewish people, and the joy of G-d."

                                *  *  *

                          Decorating the Sukka

One year, on the eve of Sukkot, Rabbi Chaim of Zanz told his sons that
he needed several thousand rubles. As soon as they brought him the
money, he distributed it all to the needy. As he entered his sukka that
evening he said: "People are accustomed to decorate their sukka with all
kinds of pretty ornaments. But the decoration in this sukka is charity!

                                     (A Treasury of Chasidic Tales)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Yosel was a simple, honest Jew, which is why each year he was chosen to
be the one to buy a "special" etrog (citron) for his town. There were,
of course, other etrogim in town that individuals purchased in order to
fulfill the mitzva (commandment) of  "lulav and etrog" on the holiday of
Sukkot. But the special etrog was unique; it was purchased from a fund
contributed to by everyone in the town so that a truly excellent etrog
could be bought.

Yosel hummed a joyous melody as he and his horse plodded through the
forest on their two-day journey to the city. Suddenly, Yosel noticed a
person gesturing wildly by the side of the road up ahead. Yosel was sure
that someone was in dire need and Yosel wanted to be of help if he could

Within a few moments, Yosel was near enough to take in the whole
situation. A Jew was standing next to his fully-loaded wagon, holding
his head and weeping aloud like a baby. Yosel couldn't stand seeing a
fellow Jew sad.

"What's wrong?" called out Yosel compassionately. "Why is a Jew crying?"

The poor fellow just pointed to the ground. There lay his horse, still
as a stone, harnessed to the carriage with one leg in the air; a truly
pitiful sight.

Yosel understood. This unfortunate merchant was also on his way to the
city but he had with him a wagon full of wares. This loaded wagon most
likely represented his income for the next few months. And now, with his
horse dead, there was no way for the merchant to reach the market.

"Come with me" offered Yosel. "My wagon isn't nearly as big as yours but
you can put some of your things in." But as the words came out of the
good-hearted Yosel's mouth, he knew this suggestion wouldn't work. His
horse wasn't strong enough to pull a laden wagon and even so, everything
left behind would certainly be stolen. The fellow would loose his wagon
and the remainder of his goods as well.

"Look," Yosel said, "how much do you need for a new horse?"

The man whispered, "Five hundred rubles," and then began to weep again.

Yosel took the money for the special etrog out of his pocket and said,
"Here is 500 rubles. Jump in! We can make it to the market in a half a
day. You can buy a horse there, ride it back here and make it back to
the market again before tomorrow morning. You can repay the loan later."

Yosel urged his horse on and throughout the entire journey Yosel sang a
happy melody, thinking of how lucky he was to be in the position to help
out a fellow Jew in need. Within two hour of reaching the marketplace,
the Jew had purchased a new horse and was off like the wind to save his

As the Jew faded into the distance, so did the smile on Yosel's face. He
suddenly realized the predicament he was in. Hmm, a two-day journey back
to his own town, 500 rubles from his savings, a two-day journey back to
the city to buy an etrog, then back home again... Yosel's head began to

"I'm such a simpleton! A fool!" Yosel began berating himself. But
suddenly he thought, "Hey! What possible good will come from being sad!?
Exactly the opposite; the Baal Shem Tov says that 'Sadness is the
doorstep to all sins.' It is a mitzva to be happy and joyous I will be!"

Just then, Yosel noticed a large group of people gathered around one
man. Yosel approached and was awed by what he saw. A huge etrog, as
brilliantly yellow as the sun, and spotlessly perfect! It was
magnificent. He had never seen anything like it in his life. How he
would have loved to have purchased that etrog as the special one for his
community. Surely the selling price was at least one thousand rubles.
Yosel took one last wistful look and then turned away. But then, he
heard something that caught his attention. A raffle! It seemed that
because no one had such a large sum the owner decided to make a raffle:
He would sell 50 tickets for 20 rubles each.

Yosel bought a ticket. He wrote his name on a piece of paper and placed
it together with the other 49 slips of paper in a hat. A child was
called up from the crowd. He closed his eyes, stuck his hand in and...

Yosel won! Everyone in the crowd shook his hand and patted him on the
back. Yosel graciously took the etrog and then walked to the nearby
synagogue to recite the afternoon prayers and thank G-d properly. The
next morning, Yosel set off for home. He marvelled at G-d's ways and
continuously thanked G-d for the goodness He had bestowed upon him.

On his return trip home, Yosel once again caught site of someone by the
side of the road. Yosel stopped his wagon and was delighted to see the
Jew whom he had helped just the day before. The Jew explained, "A
miracle! When I came back with the new horse I found that the old one
that I thought was dead , wasn't dead at all. He was standing by the
road, eating grass. So I hitched both horses up to the wagon and in no
time I made it to the market and sold all my goods in just a few hours
at a nice profit. Then I sold the new horse you bought me and raced out
here last night so I could intercept you on your way back home, and now
here you are, and here's your money back."

So, Yosel helped a fellow Jew in need, acquired a very special etrog for
his community, and was even returning to his community with 500 rubles
for them to do as they saw fit, all because of his simple joy.

                      By Rabbi Tuvia Bolton, from

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
All-Merciful Father, in Your goodwill, bestow goodness upon Zion;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. For in You alone we trust, sublime and
exalted G-d and King, master of the worlds.

             (From the Hakafot prayer recited on Simchat Torah when
                                   circling with the Torah scrolls)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 839 - Succos 5765

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