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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 840
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             THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
*********************************************************************
        October 15, 2004         Noach          30 Tishrei, 5765
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                            After the Flood


By the time you read this, we have hopefully moved far enough away from
the hurricanes in the United States - Charley, Frances, Ivan and their
"lesser" cousins - that those of us who lived through them, fled them or
had them pay a visit are dried out and straightening up and we all can
reflect on the vagaries.

Of course the vagaries - the unpredictable, eccentric changes - in
nature aren't really vagaries. While much of nature remains
unpredictable, even eccentric to us, to G-d every wind current and every
drop of rain derives from, and is part of, the master plan of Creation.
Every bolt of lightning and every surge of the tide unfolds an inner
spiritual truth, like a seed revealing itself to actually be a tree.
This constant unfolding occurs every moment, the visible end of
continuous creation. For as the prayer book says, "You renew each moment
the works of creation."

That hurricanes - and tornadoes, volcanoes and shifting patterns - a key
word - of nature are not random but manifestations and effects of G-d's
plan we can see by analogies. The new science of Chaos tells us that,
out of chaos - order. One of its pioneers coined the expression, "a
butterfly flapping its wings in Japan causes a hurricane in New York."
Meaning, of course, that every action has consequences, multiplied and
multiplying on themselves, unseen and unforeseen - yet nevertheless
interconnected, patterned.

And we have gotten better at predicting the storms, seeing the inner
pattern. The National Weather Service tracked Charley, France and Ivan,
and company, hours, days, sometimes weeks in advance - giving many
people time to  prepare, to evacuate, to avoid the worst. We are now,
too, virtually speaking, seeing the inner structure of creation.

Surely this is an analogy for the days of Moshiach, when we will see the
pattern of G-dliness in the world. On our way there, when we have not
yet perfected our spiritual Doppler effect, we cannot yet - like with
the weather service - fully explain why the human patterns, the
cross-currents and surge tides of relationships and nations - proceed as
they do. The weather service can explain what's happening, of course -
the high pressure system pushes away the low pressure system, the cold
waters lessen the wind speed, whatever. But it can't tell us why.

And we can do the same. We can say what's happening - an increase in
goodness and kindness, an awakening of interest in Torah study and
mitzvot observance, a return to observance, an emphasis on love of a
fellow Jew - these are the stages - the positive warning signs - of
Moshiach. And in a sense we have a better sense of why than the weather
forecasters - for the coming of Moshiach was forecast - prophesied -
long ago, the culmination of our mitzvot, the purpose of creation and of
our exile.

We can see other parallel patterns. How many people had to flee their
homes before the storms? How many times have the Jewish people had to
flee, moving from exile to exile? How many of us, those of us within the
path of the warnings and watches, had to stay, for whatever reason,
relying on G-d's protection, realizing, starkly, how fragile is our
world, our existence, how security only resides in trusting G-d?

Looking at the satellite photos and the computer generated models, do we
not get a glimpse of the global picture we will see and  the spiritually
generated revelations of G-dliness we will experience with the coming of
Moshiach and the ultimate Redemption?

From weather predictions come the saying, we're in the calm before the
storm. From Moshiach predictions come the saying, we're in the storm
before the calm.

May the storms pass speedily and the calm come swiftly.

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
In this week's Torah portion, Noach, we find the verse, "In the six
hundredth year of Noah's life...all the fountains of the great deep were
split and the windows of Heaven were opened." The Zohar, the basic book
of Jewish mysticism, explains that this refers to the beginning of the
sixth century of the sixth millennium of Creation (the year 5500,
approximately 250 years ago). At that time, the Divine fountains of
knowledge would open up, both above in the celestial spheres and below
in the physical realm, and the world would thus be prepared to enter the
seventh millennium, the Messianic Age.

The Zohar describes the two types of knowledge that would be revealed
during this time frame. The first is the opening of the "gates of
knowledge above," referring to Torah and G-dly wisdom, and the second is
the "fountains of wisdom below," referring to science and our
understanding of nature and the physical world.

Indeed, we find that the world began to undergo great changes during
that time, just as the Zohar prophesied. The amount of knowledge and
understanding began to reach levels unprecedented in history. In the
Torah world, this was the time when Chasidic philosophy began to be
revealed, and in the secular world, scientific discoveries and
developments began a frenetic pace which continues to the present day.

This period of revelation of knowledge, both G-dly and secular, came
about as a preparation for the seventh millennium and the days of
Moshiach. It is easy to understand how increased revelation of Torah
serves as preparation, for the Messianic Era is a time when "knowledge
of G-d will cover the earth like the water of the sea." But what has
this to do with scientific advances and the Industrial Revolution?

A fundamental innovation of Moshiach will be that our perception of
reality will change. Chasidic philosophy explains that after Moshiach
reveals himself, "all flesh will see" - our physical flesh will be
cognizant of the G-dliness that permeates and sustains the entire world.

Advances in scientific knowledge and understanding of the natural world
are a preparation for this time. Medical, astronomic and nuclear
discoveries have been revealed to man so that he can use this knowledge
to serve G-d. As with everything else, we are given the free will with
which to utilize these discoveries, as increased knowledge carries with
it increased responsibility. When a Jew employs modern technology to
serve G-d, perform mitzvot and further goodness in the world, he is
utilizing these revelations properly.

We have been granted the increased understanding of the dynamics of the
physical world so that we can elevate these elements as well.
Furthermore, the greater our understanding of science, the greater our
appreciation and understanding of the ultimate unity of G-d and
Creation.

We see in the progress of history the positive development of knowledge
and how it leads to an understanding of G-d. In antiquity man believed
in the divinity of each of the natural forces, and believed that
physical matter was composed of many different elements. Modern science,
however, is proving the existence of fundamental, atomic structure,
proving yet another example of G-d's ultimate unity.

                   Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

*********************************************************************
                             SLICE OF LIFE
*********************************************************************
                All Righteous Share in the World to Come
                           by Shoshana Zakar

           A letter to an unmet friend written January, 2001

A friend asked me to write to you. Though you don't know me, I hope you
will read on...

My friend told me that you had decided to convert to Christianity.

I was a fundamentalist Christian at one point in my life. Mostly Baptist
and Assemblies of G-d.

I can understand the feelings of such moments, I hope, better than those
who have never "been there".

One of the loneliest, darkest, and difficult places we can be is when
our souls feel apart from G-d. There were times - just before I became a
Christian - that I wanted to die from the hurt of what felt like being
alone, with no one whom I could really trust enough to understand. I was
looking desperately for a water to quench the burning. I knew about
Judaism. Not much, but up to then I thought it was true. Still, it was
my friend Tom, a Christian, who seemed to be the one who could offer me
an answer. In a few days, I had accepted the Nazarene as my saviour and
became a Christian. And to be very honest, I felt like a great burden
had been lifted from me. I felt like at last I knew what truth and love
was. Tom introduced me to a lot of Christians, and they all seemed very
warm and caring. I truly felt that I had finally found the answer.

I would not be at all surprised if you have had something of the same
experience. The feelings are very real. And your desire to quench a deep
thirst just as real.

But what I found out, in time, is that feeling is not enough. It is very
possible to fall in love with that which is false, and in so doing to
miss the deeper love that we can share with our True Love. Thinking we
are in love with G-d, we follow our feelings - and whatever feeds them -
only to realize that somehow we've turned our backs on G-d. It happened
to me and it was not easy for me to see what I had done. It was so wrong
- but it felt so right.

Yet, even though I had turned my back on G-d - when I understood, and
turned, I found that He had been following close behind all along - just
waiting for me to return.

I guess IF I'd been letting my head guide me instead of my heart, I
might not have become a Christian.

If.

But I didn't see the truth because - well, because I wanted an easy
answer to the pain. I wanted to feel happy. I wanted it "now". I saw
Christianity as a religion of love, of universal brotherhood, of peace.
And I bought into the ideas Christians planted in my mind that Judaism
was legalistic, parochial, narrow-minded and harsh, whose G-d was strict
and severe.

Strange, in retrospect...

Judaism, after all, teaches that all righteous people share in the world
to come, that suffering in the afterlife is limited to what it takes to
purify us to fully receive the good that G-d showers upon us, and that
G-d forgives over and over and over again - all we need to do is ask
with a sincere heart. Judaism teaches that the essence of the soul is so
pure that it is a part of G-d Himself, and that our task is to reveal
the G-dliness in Creation. G-d, Who gave us commandments, not to make us
suffer, but rather to show us how to re-weave the beautiful and
intricate spiritual tapestry that envelopes the universe. To be His
partners in making it all happen. Maybe because when you really love
someone, you let them share in what you do.

And Christianity? There are good, kind Christians. Christians with a
share in the world to come. That I do not argue. But Christianity
itself? Only Christians go to Heaven. The rest go to Hell. Even
children. Even those who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust. Even my
mother and father and brother. And not just a Hell of purification - an
eternal damning Hell with no hope of return with Satan as master of
eternity. And Satan - I didn't see it then, but rather than knowing G-d
as the only true and infinitely powerful being, somehow Christianity
puts him in a power struggle with G-d. A significant one. But how can
there be ANY real power except G-d? Peace? I guess they wanted me to
think of Christianity like a lasting manger scene. I did at first. But I
guess eventually even I couldn't excuse the Crusades and Pogroms as acts
by people who "weren't real Christians". No....they were Christians - so
legalistic and harsh that they would kill rather than to permit another
to believe in G-d in a different way.

When we want to believe something very badly - as badly as I did - we
tend to deceive even ourselves. I could have seen all that - but I
didn't want to look. And even when I did want to question, I felt like
there was no one who would - or could - really understand.

And IF some of this strikes a cord in your heart, then I beg you -
please - give yourself a bit of space to consider what is really so, to
separate feeling from truth, to know which direction is the one that
truly leads toward G-d. I hope that at least in this you will not doubt,
that G-d will not hurt or condemn one who seeks Him with all her heart
and soul. He will, I promise, give you the time you need to learn how to
embrace him.

I don't know if any of this is what you are feeling. I am only speaking
from the heart to a sister whom I have not had the honor to meet. I just
want to offer to be a friend. Someone who - though I may see things
differently because of where I have been - is willing to listen and talk
with you. If you want to.

May your way be blessed and your path be true.

         Shoshana Zakar is co-author of Judaism OnLine: Confronting
                   Spirituality on the Internet with Dovid Kaufmann

*********************************************************************
                               WHAT'S NEW
*********************************************************************
                       Three New Emissary Couples

Three young couples are joining the Lubavitcher Rebbe's corps of nearly
3,000 families serving Jewish communities world-wide through
Chabad-Lubavitch Centers. Rabbi Moishe and Devorah Brennan recently
joined the Chabad-Lubavitch team in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania where they
are working on programming and adult education for Chabad of the Main
Line. Rabbi Peretz and Michal Shapiro recently moved to Dallas, Texas,
where they will head Adult Education activities for Chabad of Dallas.
Rabbi Meir and Frumie Kessler will soon be arriving in East Delray
Beach, Florida, where they will establish a new Chabad House serving all
the Jewish residents of the community.

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
                   23rd of Mar Cheshvan, 5722 [1961]

Greeting and Blessing:

After the very long interval, I received your letter of October 24th. I
was disappointed that you have written so little about the activities
during the month of Tishrei, although it is my firm hope that you have
taken full advantage of it.

With regard to the business difficulties, surely you know that the
difficulties in the past have worked themselves out satisfactorily, and
better than expected.

So you may be sure that this will be so again, by the grace and kindness
of the Almighty.

Incidentally, referring to your calculations and the loss of 4000 to
5000 for the year, you, yourself, of course, provide the answer that it
was due to the payment of 7000 in interest.

I take this opportunity to thank you for sending me the Diary, which has
revealed to me a new trait in your character, namely, a sense of humor.

Thank you, especially, for the good news towards the end of your letter,
about the improvement in the health of Mr. M- B-. May G-d grant that you
will always have good news to report, not only about yourself, but also
about your friends and acquaintances.

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                     11th of Cheshvan, 5737 [1976]

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.

I trust that by the time this letter reaches you, you will have been
discharged from your job as a patient requiring care and attention, and
instead of this, I can now offer you ten other jobs, as enumerated in
the enclosed general message - needless to say, with the approval of
your physician - friend.

May G-d grant that you should have good news to report in all above.

The three last "jobs" in the letter are, of course, more pertinent to
Mrs. Jaffe, but also in these you can have a share, by encouraging her
and others through her.

Wishing you and Mrs. Jaffe good health to carry out the above tasks in a
way that inspires the whole community to do likewise, based on the
Mitzvo of V'Ohavto L'Reacho Komocho ["loving your fellow Jew as
yourself"], and to enjoy true Yiddish Chasidish Nachas [pleasure] from
all your children and grandchildren.

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                      4th of Cheshvan, 5740 [1979]

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to confirm receipt of your correspondence, and no doubt you have
been able to rest up from your travels and share your good impressions
and benefits from your visit here with Anash [Lubavitcher Chasidim] in
Manchester.

Especially as our meeting and parting were in connection with, and in
the spirit of, Simchas Torah, which sets the tone for the entire year,
in keeping with the imperative of "serve G-d with joy." May each and
every day of the New Year be filled with true joy in every respect
materially and spiritually, and that you and Mrs. Jaffe should enjoy
true Yiddish Chasidish Nachas from each of your children and
grandchildren, in good health and happy circumstances.

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                    7th of MarCheshvan, 5719 [1958]

Greeting and Blessing:

I duly received your cable and letter of October 12th. Needless to say I
was very happy to receive the good news of your being completely
exonerated at the trial, and of... forthcoming marriage.

It has been often stressed that when a person takes the trouble to keep
his eyes and mind open, he can see G-d's individual Divine Providence at
every step, and often with unusual emphasis, and as you have yourself
noticed in your case in the matter of the trial, as you write in your
letter.

May G-d grant that you will continue to see G-d's Divine Providence, but
in a benevolent way only, in obvious and tangible good, without anxiety
or worry, and that the good always turn to better.

Inasmuch as you have begun the New Year with happy tidings, may G-d
grant that you will continue to have good things to report throughout
the year in every way, both in your private, as well as in your public
affairs.

With prayerful wishes, and with blessing,

*********************************************************************
                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
*********************************************************************
4 Cheshvan, 5765 - October 19, 2004

Positive Mitzva 10: Reciting the "Shema"

This mitzva is based on the verse (Deut. 6:7) "And you shall talk of
them when you sit in your house, and when you travel on the road, and
when you lie down and when you rise up" G-d commanded us to recite the
"Shema" twice every day, in the morning and the evening. When our Sages
arranged the content of the prayerbook, they included the Shema in the
morning and evening prayers.

Positive Mitzva 5: Worshiping G-d - "Prayer"

This mitzva is based on the verse (Ex. 23:25) "And you shall serve the
L-rd, your G-d" G-d instructs us to serve Him through Prayer. We express
our dedication and loyalty by offering our praise and making our
requests through prayer.

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
*********************************************************************
The month of Tishrei which we just last week concluded is referred to in
Jewish sources as a "comprehensive month." Its days include the entire
spectrum of Jewish observance and emotion. It contains holy and awe
inspiring days, days of introspection and penitence, fast days and
regular week days, and joyous and exuberant days such as those of
Simchat Torah.

Throughout the entire month of Tishrei, Jews stock up on spiritual
experiences and mitzvot from the holiday seasons. Hearing the shofar,
giving tzedaka, blessing the candles, inviting guests, praying, shaking
the lulav, eating in the sukka, fasting, etc., etc. Little by little,
throughout the year, we unpack our stored "goods," drawing strength and
inspiration from the vast treasures we acquired during the month of
Tishrei.

Yet, we cannot rest on our laurels. The stock we have stored up during
Tishrei is not limitless. It constantly has to be replenished with
mitzvot that we are currently performing. Thus, our "shelves" will be
kept filled.

One particularly important mitzva to keep in abundant supply is that of
Ahavat Yisrael - love of one's fellow Jew - a mitzva which is, in fact,
a comprehensive mitzva. We are told that the mitzva of Ahavat Yisrael is
the "basis of the entire Torah" and is a "great principle of the Torah."
It encompasses and includes every single Jew, for Jews are like one
body. Thus, we are required to love every Jew - even one whom we have
never seen. This mitzva affects every Jew on an individual and
collective level. And since it is such an important mitzva, we should
never rely on what we might have in stock, but should replenish it every
single day.

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
And the earth was corrupt before G-d, and the earth was filled with
violence (Gen 6:11)

It is a mistake to think that man can exist without faith and fear of
G-d, while fulfilling the commandments between man and his fellow man.
When the point of "and the earth was corrupt before G-d" is reached,
when the yoke of Heaven is thrown off and the people begin to sin
against G-d, the immediate result is "and the earth was filled with
violence."

                                                       (Or HaTorah)

And the whole earth was of one language (Gen. 11:1)

The generation that was alive at the time of the Flood was thoroughly
steeped in robbery and dishonesty, and therefore was thoroughly
destroyed. But the generation of the Tower of Babel had at least the
merit of loving their fellow man and getting  along with each other, as
it says, "and the whole earth was of one language." Therefore, they were
not all destroyed.

                                                  (Bereishit Rabba)

                                *  *  *


These are the generations of Noach: Noach was a just, perfect man in his
generation (Gen. 6:9)

Rashi comments: This verse teaches us that the most important legacy of
a righteous person is his good deeds. A righteous person is not defined
by his lineage or by his noble ancestry, but by his own actions and
behavior.

                                                   (Divrei Yisrael)

                                *  *  *


Noah's perfection was that he followed G-d's will completely and with
all of his being throughout the day, not just when he learned and
prayed, but with mundane matters as well.

                                                (Lubavitcher Rebbe)

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
Napoleon personally commanded his mighty army in order to realize his
dream of capturing India and other lands in the Far East. He captured
Egypt and from there marched into the Land of Israel.

About the same time, in the  year 1798, a great-grandson of the Baal
Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman, arrived in Israel. His hope was to quench his
thirst for Torah from the great saintly Sages living in the ancient city
of Safed.

Once, after concluding his prayers with great concentration and
devotion, he lay down on the grass to rest and fell asleep.

Suddenly, in his dream, he beheld an old man who told him to go to
Tiberias where he had an important mission to carry out on the banks of
Lake Kinneret.

Reb Nachman wasted not a moment. He gathered his things and hurried off
toward Tiberias. There, he rented a room in the house of a fisherman.
Napoleon, in the meantime, had made his headquarters on the east bank of
Lake Kinneret. He was receiving reports that there was much unrest in
France, and that his opponents were seeking an opportunity to dethrone
him. In this unsettling atmosphere, it was not easy for Napoleon to
maintain the strict military discipline upon which the success of his
armies depended.

One day, a thieving band of soldiers set out on a rampage, raiding the
homes of the poor fishermen near Lake Kinneret. Three soldiers dashed
into the home where Reb Nachman lived and demanded from the old Jewish
fisherman all his money.

"I am too old to go fishing anymore and my only son supports me,"
explained the elderly man. "I have no money."

The disappointed soldiers began beating the old Jew mercilessly. Reb
Nachman heard the commotion from his attic room and hurried to the
rescue.

"Leave the old man alone!" Reb Nachman called out in a commanding tone.

The soldiers let go of their victim. But seeing the intruder was a thin,
pale, young Jew, they turned their attention on him.

"So, you would like to have a taste of this beating?" one of the
soldiers called out contemptuously. He took off his belt and approached
Reb Nachman.

Rabbi Nachman shot a piercing glance at the soldier who remained
standing with his arm paralyzed in the air. The two other soldiers tried
to help their friend, but they, too, were quickly made helpless by the
sharp look of Reb Nachman.

Reb Nachman ordered them to put the old man on his bed and ask his
forgiveness. "Now, get out of here at once and don't let your foot enter
any Jewish home if you value your lives," he warned the soldiers.

Terrified and in deadly silence, the soldiers ran out. Arriving at their
barracks, they told their friends about the terrible experience with the
holy young Jew who had magical powers.

The story spread throughout the entire French Army camp until it reached
Napoleon. Napoleon had the soldiers brought to him. He questioned them
and then decided to meet this unusual Rabbi, who might be able to
foretell what the future had in store for him.

"That is the man," Reb Nachman heard a familiar-looking soldier say.

As Napoleon approached Reb Nachman, the rabbi rose and greeted him with
great respect, saying, "Good evening, your Majesty. Blessed are you in
your coming."

Amazed, Napoleon asked, "How do you know who I am?"

"Our Torah enlightens the eyes of those who follow its teachings," Reb
Nachman replied.

As they talked, Napoleon realized that he was conversing with a
distinguished spiritual personality, who also had a deep understanding
of worldly problems and events.

"Do you think I should continue my military expedition through the
countries of the Middle East to reach India, or should we return to
France?" he asked Reb Nachman.

Reb Nachman pondered the matter for a while then said, "The Creator has
blessed you with exceptional qualities which you should use for the
benefit of mankind. The way to achieve this is not through wars and
bloodshed. Do not allow your military victories to mislead you. They
will not bring peace to the world, and without peace you have nothing.
Return home and help to create in your own country an exemplary order of
justice and righteousness."

Napoleon shook his head and said, "Such a mission is not for me. I would
rather live a short life full of triumph and power than a long life
without them."

"Everyone has freedom of choice in the way he wishes to live," said
Rabbi Nachman respectfully.

Napoleon invited Reb Nachman to accompany him as his adviser, despite
the fact that he hadn't followed Reb Nachman's advice.

But Reb Nachman demurred the honor, saying, "My only wish is to serve
the Alm-ghty with all my heart and with all my soul."

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
Before the coming of Moshiach, a very special rainbow will appear. This
rainbow will be so bright that all rainbows that have appeared on earth
will seem very dim and weak in comparison. The bright strong colors of
this rainbow are a sign that the Redemption is about to come. It is this
rainbow, the Zohar tells us, that G-d was speaking about when He said to
Noah (Gen. 9:16), "I will look at it to recall the eternal promise."

                       (Zohar 1:72b as quoted in Discover Moshiach)

*********************************************************************
                 END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 840 - Noach 5765
*********************************************************************

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