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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 906
                           Copyright (c) 2006
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        February 3, 2006           Bo             5 Shevat, 5766

                          What Makes a Leader?

A Midrash explains why Moses was chosen to lead the Jewish people out of
exile. After he had fled Egypt and settled in Midian, he became a
shepherd for his father-in-law. One day, as he was gathering the sheep,
he noticed that a young lamb was missing. He found it at a distance,
near a pool of water, thirstily drinking. "Had I known you were
thirsty," Moses said to the lamb, "I would have brought you here
myself." When it slaked its thirst, Moses picked up the exhausted lamb
and carried it back to the flock.

If Moses cares for a small and insignificant lamb in this manner, G-d
responded, he is worthy to care for My people, for he will concern
himself with the least of them.

When Moses passed on the leadership of the Jewish people to Joshua, he
asked G-d that Joshua be filled with the "spirit of the Living G-d." Our
Sages explain this unusual request as follows: Joshua could have been a
leader who stayed in his "palace," issuing general directives, but not
focusing on each individual. Moses prayed that Joshua would be able to
discern the nature of each Jew, and respond accordingly.

Many can lead the multitude, pronounce platitudes from on high and
appear to have a vision, or at least a sense of power. Others can work
with individuals or smaller groups, teach and guide within the four
cubits of their world.

But to "talk with kings, and retain the common touch," is rare.

The Rebbe's leadership has been praised and acknowledged from a variety
of angles and by an array of people. His scholarship, his receptivity,
his work on behalf of Jews everywhere, his institutions the world over,
and so much more, have all received attention. But perhaps more then any
other, his dedication to each and every individual regardless of
affiliation or background, has been been, if not overlooked, less

Today, the Rebbe's shluchim (emissaries) continue to carry out the
Rebbe's work, remaining devoted to each and every individual. These men
and women have gone literally all over the world, to bring sustenance,
spiritual and material to their fellow Jews, and indeed, their fellow
human being. On the Israeli front lines, they bring the joy of the
Jewish holidays; when the tsunami struck southeast Asia, the Rebbe's
shluchim were in the forefront of rescue efforts; during and after
Katrina, the Rebbe's representatives, both those in New Orleans and
elsewhere, abandoned personal affairs to help others.

On a more "mundane" level, the Rebbe's shluchim counsel college
students, run Jewish day schools, visit Jewish prisoners - the list of
community and educational activities is probably endless.

What remains amazing about all this is the deep value and commitment the
shluchim show to the individual, for as followers of the Rebbe they seek
to emulate his ways.

From where do they derive their energy and inspiration to not only find
their way to a community but to have a continual impact?

The answer is, from the Rebbe. For like Moses and Joshua before him, he
does more than "speak to kings." And he does more than teach the law. He
perceives the nature of an individual, and turns the key that opens the
door to his or her potential.

The name of this week's Torah reading Bo means "come." In between the
seventh and eight of the ten plagues, Moses was commanded by G-d, "Come
to Pharaoh." More particularly, the term "bo" is also interpreted as
meaning "enter" or "penetrate." As the Zohar, the fundamental text of
Jewish mysticism states, Moses was told to enter room after room,
penetrating to the very core of Pharaoh's palace.

The Zohar continues, explaining that Moses shrank at the command to
approach Pharaoh. He was daunted by the charge to confront evil at its
very core. To reassure him, G-d told him, "come." "Come," i.e., "come
with Me," and not "go," "go alone." G-d promised that He would accompany
Moses and face Pharaoh with him.

This command thus requires personal initiative, and simultaneously,
promises that such initiative will be rewarded by G-d's assistance.
Moses was required to act on his own, but not independently. G-d would
support his efforts.

This dynamic is replayed in microcosm in the myriad spiritual struggles
that we all continually face. We must confront Pharaoh - brave the
challenges to Jewish involvement that the outside environment appears to
present. And this includes not only viewing those challenges from afar,
but penetrating to their core and looking at them from up close.

One would be foolish not to be somewhat daunted by this task. Indeed, if
it is not daunting, it is not a challenge.

And yet, one's hesitation should only be temporary. We have the power to
persevere in our mission.

When we do, we find out that we are not alone. G-d is with us,
supporting our efforts. Simply put, we see ourselves speaking and acting
with greater power than we could ever muster on our own.

Behaving in this manner transforms the world around us, including the
challenging forces. Just as Pharaoh became the power who urged the Jews
out of Egypt, so too, every element of our existence can become a
positive and contributory influence, aiding our Jewish involvement.

           From Keeping in Touch, adapted from the teachings of the
       Lubavitcher Rebbe by Rabbi E. Touger, published by Sichos In

                             SLICE OF LIFE

    The dedication and self-sacrifice of the Rebbe's shluchim
    (emissaries) around the world is well known. Rarely is much
    attention given, though, to the children of the shluchim. Anyone who
    has been in a Chabad-Lubavitch Center where children shluchim are
    present will agree that the children add a unique appeal to the
    programs and a whole new dimension to words like inclusion,
    acceptance, family. In honor of Yud Shevat we present you with
    excerpts of essays written by the children of shluchim, shluchim in
    their own right, originally published on

                 Menachem Mendel Vogel - Rochester, NY

My name is Menachem Mendel Vogel. I am nine years old and I live in
Rochester, N.Y. My Chabad House is pretty big. It has three floors. On
the upper floor there is a Recreation Room and offices. The middle floor
has a library, a lounge, a kitchen, and a shul (synagogue). It looks
really nice. My father is the rabbi with another rabbi. My father learns
with people. We have a Sunday morning Tefilin Club with bagels and lox.
The café night is my best program. It is every other Motzei Shabbos
(Saturday night). There is pizza, french fries, falafel, soda, and I
help by being a waiter.

I like to play sports. I also love reading. I am proud to be a shliach
(emissary) because I am chazan (cantor) in shul on Shabbos .  

                                *  *  *

                Yossi Feller - West St. Paul, Minnesota

Hi, my name is Yossi Feller. I am nine years old and I live in West St.
Paul, Minnesota.  Here in Minnesota the winter is pretty cold. Sometimes
it could get down to 45 degrees below zero! My Tatty (father) and Mommy
run a Chabad House in Minnesota. Last year we started to remodel our
Chabad House. Every Friday I clean up the sefarim (books) of the shul.

I also help my father go shopping on Friday to buy things for Shabbos. I
am proud that I am a shliach of the Rebbe.

                                *  *  *

               Levi Kazilsky - Johannesburg, South Africa

My brothers, sisters, and I are on shlichus in South Africa. Here two
languages spoken, English and Afrikaans. Our Chabad House is quite big.
There is a shul, library, rooms for people to stay in and an office.

My parents organize children's gatherings for different Jewish holidays.
They also teach Torah classes for a lot of people.

My school's name is Torah Academy. I am in 3rd grade. We learn a lot of
things. My hobby is playing football. I am proud to be a shliach of the
Rebbe here in South Africa because I get to meet all different kinds of
people and teach them more about Yiddishkeit (Judaism). Its lots of fun
seeing people and meeting people knowing that they are our brothers and
sisters. We are all part of one big family and we are all united in some
kind of a way.

                                *  *  *

                  Chaim Swued - Barranquilla, Columbia

My name is Chaim Swued and I am eight years old. I live in Barranquilla,
Colombia. I'm a shliach of the rebbe. Our family lives on the second
floor of the Chabad House. My father teaches religion to the Jewish kids
in my school. He is also a shochet (ritual slaughterer) and he shechts
(slaughters) chickens and cows so that the Jewish community here can
have kosher meat. On Shabbos, when he reads from the Torah in the shul,
he lets me and my brother Yossi take turns holding the pointer to show
him the place. When we have vacation in the winter, we travel to New
York to go to yeshiva, and I wait for this time all year.

                                *  *  *

           Miriam Broche Grunblatt - Buenos Aires, Argentina

My name is Miriam Broche Grunblatt. I am nine years old, and live in
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Spanish is the country's language. My father is
a the director of Kehot Publications in Spanish. He translates and
prepares sefarim for printing. Thanks to his work, people in many
countries around the world that need Jewish books in Spanish can now
daven (pray) and understand what they say and study Torah, especially
Chasidus. Together with my mother, he also prepared beautiful books for
children to learn while they color and play.

"Kehot" has a huge book store here, including Judaica and games for
children. All the furniture is on wheels, and every second Tuesday they
are moved aside and the store becomes a big hall where my mother makes
breakfasts so women can hear more about Yiddishkeit. I help too: to set
the tables and clean them, giving out brochures, helping with cooking,
and whatever is needed.

I like to play a game called "tutti frutti." I love to sing. I am proud
to be able to teach people more about Judaism.

I hope to get to know all of you in Beis HaMikdosh (Holy Temple), when
Moshiach comes very soon!

                                *  *  *

              Levi Yitschok Heintz - Utrecht, Netherlands

My name is Levi Yitschok Heintz and I live in Utrecht, which is in
Holland. In Holland we speak Dutch. Our house is the Chabad House. My
parents make parties for the holidays. My father gives classes. I like
to help people who cannot daven (pray) so well. I'm the oldest at home
and I help watch my little brothers and with the cooking. I also enjoy
playing football and handball.

This summer I went with my big brother Shneour Zalman to Gan Yisroel
summer camp in Holland. Every day we first had line up and then we
davened with a minyan (quorom) which is very special for me because in
Utrecht we only have a minyan on Shabbos morning.

I am looking forward to come to New York with my father for the Shluchim

                                *  *  *

              Menucha Rochel Sneiderman - Newark, Delaware

My name is Menucha Rochel Sneiderman. I live in Newark, Delaware, USA.
The weather here is cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

My parents have a Chabad House. It is not very big, but it is cool. My
father has a creative eye, so everything is painted in bright, light,
colors. The dining room is smallish, it can only fit 40 - 50 people,
though we try to squeeze in more.

My parents do a lot of fun programs. The one I like the best is the
program they do for college students in the suka. The way I help with
programs is to behave!

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                            THE REBBE WRITES
         Freely translated letters of the Rebbe written in the
              year after the passing of the Previous Rebbe

                          3 Tamuz, 5710 (1950)

...Many are seeking an explanation of the characteristic greatness of
the Chabad leaders in general, and the leader of our generation, my
father-in-law, of blessed memory, in particular, in terms of the
following designations: A man of great self-sacrifice, a great Torah
scholar, a man of integrity, a tzadik, a possessor of Divine
inspiration, able to perform miracles etc. etc.

These praises are even more significant as they are defined by the
teachings of Chasidus.

Yet in all this, the main point is absent.

Furthermore (and this is essentially the main point), the Rebbe's
special greatness is by virtue of his unique relationship with us, his
congregation of Chasidim, and with those who are connected to him. And
this is because he is the Nasi - the leader of Chabad.

For in general, the Nasi is called "the head of the community of
Israel": in relation to them, he is their head and brain; it is through
him that they derive their vitality. By cleaving to the Nasi, they
connect and unite themselves with their source Above.

...Each and every one of us should know, that is, he should study and
fix in his mind, that the Rebbe is the Nasi and the head, it is from him
and through him that everything both physical and spiritual flows, and
it is through connecting one self with him ([the Rebbe] has already
indicated in his letters how to do this) that one connects and unites
oneself with one's source, and the source of sources, ever higher and

                                *  *  *

                          17 Elul, 5710 (1950)

...Every Jewish man and woman should know that each good deed he or she
does hastens the end of the exile and darkness, and brings the true and
Final Redemption through our righteous Moshiach that much closer. This
is the only way to achieve redemption of the Jewish people, as Moshe
Rabbeinu (Moses our teacher) told the nation of Israel over three
thousand years ago (as related in the Torah of G-d, Parshas Nitzavim,
chapter 30) at length.

Concerning your request that I mention you at the grave of my
father-in-law, the Rebbe, I will certainly do so. As regards your having
written that you do not understand this matter: Surely one does not need
to first study the effect eating, drinking and sleeping have on the
physical body and the soul before doing so. Rather, one goes right ahead
and acts even though the full repercussions are not totally understood.
The same holds true for the matter at hand.

As for what you wrote concerning the appearance of conversing with the
dead, G-d forbid, and directing one's thoughts to an entity other than
G-d, Heaven forbid: You can certainly understand on your own that this
is not the case, as Caleb, the son of Yefuneh, as well as many Tannaim,
Amoraim and tzadikim (righteous people) throughout the generations have
conducted themselves thus.

In short, in answer to your question, when people came to the Rebbe for
a blessing they did so not because of the superiority of his physical
body, but because of the superiority of his soul.

Death only pertains to the physical body, for the soul is eternal,
especially the soul of a tzadik, to whom Gehinom ["purgatory"] and
punishment have no relevance. The passing of a tzadik is merely a
departure, an ascent to a higher plane, and cannot therefore be termed
"death," as is explained in the Zohar (volume 3, page 71).

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
9 Shevat, 5766 - February 7, 2006

Positive Mitzva 62: Offering salt with a sacrifice

This mitzva is based on the verse (Lev. 2:13) "With all your offerings
you shall offer salt" The Torah commands us to offer salt with all
sacrifices. Salt, being a preserver, hints that by presenting our
offerings to G-d we are "preserving" our closeness to Him. Salt also
symbolizes G-d's covenant with the Jewish people. Salt does not spoil
and it retains taste for a very long time. So, too, G-d's bond with the
Jewish people will never be broken.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
On Wednesday, the Tenth (Yud) of Shevat (Feb. 8 this year), we will
commemorate the passing of the Previous Rebbe in 1950. The Rebbe's
official acceptance of leadership took place one year later, when he
delivered his first Chasidic discourse, "Basi Legani."

This discourse was truly ground-breaking, laying the foundation for the
Rebbe's work over the next few decades. In no uncertain terms it
described the uniqueness of our generation and the special role we play
in history.

The core revelation the Rebbe introduced is that ours is "the last
generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption." During the
past seven generations of Jewish history, beginning with the inception
of Chabad Chasidism, Divine consciousness has been progressively
refined. Ours, the seventh generation (and the reincarnation of the
generation that left Egypt with the Exodus), is similarly poised on the
threshold of the Redemption.

"This is not through our own choice or a result of our service; in fact,
it might often not even be to our liking. Nevertheless...we stand on the
'heel of Moshiach' - the very edge of the heel - ready to complete the
task of drawing down the Divine Presence...into the lowest realm

This knowledge implies a responsibility that is incumbent upon each and
every one us. As the Previous Rebbe wrote in a letter, every Jew must
ask himself, "What have I done and what am I doing to alleviate the
birth-pangs of Moshiach, and to merit the total Redemption which will
come through our Righteous Moshiach?" Every mitzva we do, every good
deed or increase in Torah study has the potential to tip the scales, to
bring the ongoing historical process toward the Messianic era to its
ultimate conclusion.

As "Basi Legani" concludes, "Let us all merit to see and be together
with the Rebbe, in a physical body and within our reach, and he will
redeem us."

May it happen immediately,

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place (Ex.

The worst kind of darkness that can exist is when a person does not see
his brother or extend his hand to help the needy. When one ignores his
responsibilities and makes believe that the problems of others don't
exist, the end result is that he himself will suffer and not be able to

                                                  (Chidushei HaRim)

                                *  *  *

Let every man ask of his fellow, and every woman of her fellow...and G-d
gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians (Ex. 11:2, 3)

When Jewish people help each other in times of need, it causes them to
be held in higher esteem even by their enemies; their actions arouse G-d
to bestow His goodness in profusion.

                                                      (Toldot Adam)

                                *  *  *

And you shall eat it in haste (Ex. 12:11)

Why did the Children of Israel rush when they finally left Egypt? Didn't
their extreme haste give the mistaken impression that they had to escape
quickly? Pharaoh actually wanted them to leave at that point. They could
have taken more time to pack and depart at a leisurely pace. However,
leaving Egypt was not a mere geographical move for the Jews. It was a
step away from the world of spiritual degradation they had become
accustomed to in Egypt. When a person desires to sever his connection to
evil, it must be done all at once and not gradually. A person must grab
the first opportunity that presents itself to escape from a negative
influence. However, when Moshiach comes and reveals himself we will not
be so hard pressed to leave the Exile immediately. G-d has promised to
remove all impurity from the world, so there will be no reason to run
away from evil.


                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Once, a Lubavitcher chasid, Rabbi Michoel Vishetzky, went to visit a
Rabbi Rabinowitz in the rabbi's synagogue in the Bronx, New York. Rabbi
Vishetzky was surprised when he noticed that Rabbi Rabinowitz sat at a
corner of the table rather than the head of the table. "No one sits in
that place," the elderly rabbi told Reb Michoel. When the rabbi noticed
Reb Michoel's surprise, he began to tell him the following story.

"When I came to America, I was privileged to meet with the Previous
Rebbe. I told him everything that had happened to me in Europe and asked
him what I should do with my life. The Previous Rebbe said, 'Since you
are a Torah scholar, you should look for a position as a community

"Soon after that, I was recommended for a position in this shul
(synagogue), here in the Bronx. I asked the Previous Rebbe if I should
take the job. The Previous Rebbe said, 'A shul is a shul, and so it's
very suitable. But I don't like the shammas (sexton).'

"Why did the Rebbe mention the shammas? I wondered. The Previous Rebbe
saw that I was confused and repeated, 'A shul is a shul, but I don't
like the shammas.'

"Time passed. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until I found out
that the shammas was not pleased with me. After the passing of the
shul's previous rabbi the shammas had assumed many responsibilities and
had become the unofficial rabbi. He felt that I had pushed him aside and
he began to cause trouble for me. Eventually the situation became

"When it became too much for me, I went to see the Rebbe, who had
assumed the leadership after the passing of the Previous Rebbe on the
tenth of Shevat, 1950. Before I even had a chance to open my mouth, the
Rebbe said, 'My father-in-law said that a shul is a shul and he did not
like the shammas. Continue to serve as rabbi in the Bronx. As for the
antics of this shammas, he will soon need to worry about how long he
will keep his job.'

"I was amazed by the Rebbe's words. When I had spoken with the Previous
Rebbe, no one else had been in the room, and I had never discussed the
matter with the present Rebbe.

"A few nights later I couldn't sleep. At daybreak I decided to go to
shul a little earlier than usual. On my way, I was surprised to meet the
president and manager also walking toward the shul. The manager pointed
to a light in the windows of the shul. It looked suspicious. We quietly
opened the door and walked in. The shammas was holding the tzedaka boxes
and emptying the money into his pockets. Needless to say, we fired him.

"The next few years passed peacefully. Then something even more
incredible happened. The shul shared an adjoining wall with a butcher's
shop. Business went very well for the butcher, and the shop soon became
too small. He found a much larger shop, and sold the old shop to the
shul as the congregation needed more space. After some friendly
negotiations, a deal was struck. The whole transaction was conducted
without a written contract.

"A few years later the butcher began to look for a storeroom. When he
couldn't find one, he remembered that there was no official contract
with the shul. Without any scruples, the butcher went to the shul
management and asked them to give him his shop back. He hired a lawyer
and was positive that the court would decide in his favor as there had
been no written contract of sale.

"After a short court case, the shul board received a court order telling
them to vacate the premises by a certain date. If they disobeyed, the
police would be called in. The date was drawing near. I went to the
Rebbe for a blessing.

"When I described the situation, the Rebbe said, 'My father-in-law told
you clearly that a shul is a shul. Everything will turn out the way it

"The night before the critical date, I had a dream which I will never
forget. In the dream I went to the shul and I saw the Previous Rebbe
sitting in the chair at the head of the table - the very same chair
which I never let anyone sit in. Standing next to him was the Rebbe. He
said, 'Don't worry. G-d will let everything turn out for the best.' He
then looked toward the Previous Rebbe. 'The Rebbe told you that a shul
is a shul. What do you have to worry about?'

"I stood there in astonishment. The Previous Rebbe was right there, even
though he had passed away ten years ago. I was still marveling at this
extraordinary sight when I woke up. I ran to shul as fast as I could. A
crowd had gathered outside the shul and people were arguing with the
policemen who had blocked the entrance. They had started to remove the
furniture. Then something very dramatic happened.

"On a nearby street, in the butcher's large shop, a light fixture fell
suddenly from the ceiling. The butcher was knocked unconscious. When he
regained consciousness, his first words were, 'Please, stop emptying the
shul.' When the police arrived, the butcher admitted that he had made
false accusations against the shul. He had, indeed, received payment for
the old shop.

"Now you understand why I don't let anyone sit in that chair. The image
of the Previous Rebbe sitting there will be in front of my eyes
forever," Rabbi Rabinowitz said as he finished telling his story.

             Reprinted from The Rebbes, vol. 2, Mayanot Publishing.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
A doctor who was the head of the Iraqi Jewish community explained to the
Lubavitcher Rebbe that he had visited Jewish communities world-wide. He
had seen many different activities of the Rebbe's emissaries both open
and secret, and he had seen how Jews had responded eagerly, expressing
their Jewish identity and increasing their Torah observance. "In light
of all this," he asked, "why hasn't Moshiach come yet?" The Rebbe
answered, "I have the same question. I also don't know why Moshiach has
not yet come. That is why I tell my chasidim not to sleep, and to do
more and more so that he will come one moment earlier."

                                                 (Keeping in Touch)

                  END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 906 - Bo 5766

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