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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 910
                           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.
        March 3, 2006           Terumah             3 Adar, 5766

                          Unfinished Business

If you look at your daily schedule, often what's most striking is not
how much you got done, but how much is left over. Whether you sit and
make to-do lists, whether you actually use the to-do lists, whether you
multi-task, whether you take it one job at a time, whether you
prioritize or crisis-manage, at the end of the day, there's a long list
of unfinished business.

And that unfinished business can range from the trivial to the crucial.
A bill unpaid, laundry unfolded, a report to work on, phone calls to
family, business calls to return, emails to write, emails to read,
websites to visit, change the oil in the car, call the plumber, call the
synagogue secretary to check on a Bar Mitzva date, cancel a dinner date,
make an appointment, get some exercise  - and these are only the things
you didn't get to today that will have to be done tomorrow, or should
have been done yesterday. This doesn't count all the unfinished business
business - parts of projects past due, analysis, forms, government
requirements to be met, the business of meetings missed to attend to.

But when you go to sleep at night, only a few items of unfinished
business really bother you. They may be the trivial ones or the crucial
ones - that email that must be answered, that bill that was supposed to
be in the mail yesterday, that article you need to report on, that you
had no time to read another chapter in that book - for really, the line
between trivial and crucial is often thin and, in either direction,
sometimes no more than a night's sleep.

If you step back from all the details of your life, you'll see that some
unfinished business remains - unfinished, while some of it seems so
urgent you can't let it go. It take priority. And there are some types
of unfinished business that are both always urgent and always

And every day we have another bit of unfinished business: the Torah and
mitzvot (command-ments) we didn't get to.  Some of the mitzvot really
just take a moment - a blessing before or after eating, a coin in a
charity box, tefilin wrapped around the head and arm, modeh ani - a one
sentence prayer thanking G-d for giving us another day - when we wake
up. Others are "bigger" ones - some aspect of Shabbat or kosher we've
meant to get to for a while, but...

And Torah? Studying Torah's always unfinished business. Because Torah is
infinite and unending. Even if we got through today's daily dose (in
print, or on the web - in places like or or or, by the time we wake up, we've got some
unfinished business with the daily Torah reading.

Of course, the ultimate unfinished business we have is that of bringing
Moshiach. That's our job right now, "to prepare the world to greet
Moshiach," as the Rebbe said, to do it in a pleasant and acceptable way.
Until we "do all we can do" - all of us - and, through our actions,
really bring the Redemption, we still have some unfinished business.

This week's Torah portion, Teruma, communicates the command to build a
Sanctuary. G-d told the Jewish people: "Make Me a Sanctuary and I will
dwell within...." The Sanctuary, and later the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
was "the place which G-d... chose... to place His name there." This was
His home on earth, as it were. Just like a person can relax and express
himself without inhibitions in his own home, so too, the Temple was -
and will be - the place where G-dliness was revealed without

In every person's individual world, his soul rests in his mind, and that
makes his entire body human. Similarly, in the world at large, G-d's
presence rested in the Temple, and that made it possible for us to
appreciate G-dliness in every element of existence. The existence of the
Temple makes the entire world His home.

Our Rabbis teach us that the Hebrew word for "within" b'tocham,
literally means "within them," not "within it." Building a Sanctuary for
G-d did not mean merely erecting a structure where His presence would be
manifest. Instead, the intent was that every single person would become
"a sanctuary in microcosm," for G-d would dwell "within them," within
each and every individual.

All the details about which the Torah portion speaks have parallels in
our relationship to G-d. They are not just particulars that existed in
the Sanctuary long ago, but are instead ongoing motifs relevant to our
bond with G-d. The ark in the Holy of Holies where the Divine Presence
rested refers to the inner reaches that exist within our heart. For in
each of us, there is a resting place for the Divine.

Similarly, the Sanctuary and the Temple contained:

-the Menora, the golden candelabra; this points to the potential we all
possess to shine forth G-dly light and illuminate our surroundings;

-the table, on which the showbread was placed; this points to our
potential to earn a livelihood; this is also a holy endeavor deserving
of a place in the Sanctuary; and

-the altar, where sacrifices were brought. Korban, Hebrew for sacrifice,
relates to the word karov, meaning "close"; through the sacrifices, we
draw close to G-d.

Although we no longer have the Sanctuary built by Moses, nor the Temple
in Jerusalem, the sanctuary in every Jewish heart remains. The home for
G-d within us is an inseparable element of our existence.

        From Keeping In Touch by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, adapted from
                             the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                  Kosher Ambrosia, Spark Struck of G-d
                             by Marc Wilson

Put down your pastrami on rye. And your chopped liver. And your lox and
bagels. And even your chicken soup. Let me wax rhapsodic over an
authentic Jewish delicacy. Not one that is consecrated merely by
nostalgia and sensory gratification, but by divinely inspired mandate.

Cholent - proof positive that the Jews, not Louis Sullivan, first
discovered that wondrous gifts ensue when form is allowed to follow
function. For, cholent is the ingenious, robust, aromatic answer to the
Biblical admonition not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath day. How, some
valorous hausfrau of bygone ages asked, can the Children of Israel have
a warm, nourishing Sabbath lunch without kindling a fire? And in the
Council of Sages, a solution was born: cholent.

Friday afternoon, set the oven very low, take a little beans, a little
barley, a little meat, a few potatoes, a sprinkle of salt, and abundant
garlic. Water it down well, cover it tight, and cook ad infinitum. When
the spirit has finally been sated by a morning spent in Sabbath worship
and song, it is time to sate the ravenous appetite with more earthy

The house is permeated by a seductive aroma that entices us to the
dining room. The lid is lifted, the mystical pillar of cloud ascends,
and we are transported simultaneously back to Sinai, to Jerusalem, to
Anatevka, to dingy tenements on Delancey Street, and at the same time,
forward to the long-awaited Messianic era.

Some folk-linguists theorize the origin of cholent is in the German
schule ende, meaning "synagogue is over." More likely, however, cholent
takes its name from its most essential religious calling card: It is
hot, on a day when hot foods are at a premium. Caliente in Latin, to
chaud in French, to cholent in Yiddish, the mother tongue of Eastern
European Jews.

My brethren of German extraction tend to call it schalent and use it
more generically to speak of anything that is cooked for a long time in
a deep dish. The Germans are especially devoted to what they call apfel
schalet, conclusive proof that, along with the dirigible balloon,
Brunswick stew, and the crockpot, Jews also invented deep-dish apple

The magic of this savory stew engaged the hearts and minds of the most
profound poets and philosophers. Heinrich Heine, who spent the better
part of his life vacilating ambivalently between Judaism and
Christianity, maintained that cholent should become the secret weapon in
Christendom's arsenal to make their conversionary efforts toward the
Jews more effective. He went so far as to pen a parody to Schiller's
"Ode to Joy," in which he extols cholent as "kosher ambrosia, spark
struck from G-d." His colleague, Moritz Sappir, who did actually embrace
Christianity, nonetheless wrote an entire treatise on the glories of

Theologians have propounded that one's ability to awaken after Saturday
afternoon's cholent-induced coma is definitive proof of the doctrine of

My own encounters with cholent have been less philosophically sublime,
but no less passionate. As a young yeshiva bochur, I routinely risked a
month of in-house suspension just to steal down to the dormitory kitchen
late Friday night and surreptitiously skim off the crusty goodies that
were forming on top of the cholent destined for Saturday's lunch.

My grandmother, who otherwise shunned the deeper theology of Judaism,
indulged my cholent fixation by nestling gefilte helzel atop the
bubbling cholent. Gefilte helzel: skin of the chicken neck, stuffed with
a mixture of matzo meal and cornflake crumbs, sewn shut meticulously as
only a woman from the garment trade could, so as to resemble a miniature

Not inclined toward needle and thread, I replace gefilte helzel with a
dumpling-like mixture of matzo meal, cornflake crumbs, oatmeal and Grape
Nuts, which my mother remembers being called a jakoi, presumably a
Slavonic word meaning "rest-in-belly-like-cannon-ball."

The following is my favorite (only!) cholent recipe. I give no
proportions, because cholent must of necessity be an uncharted
adventure. Tinker with it until it touches your ethnic core. Definitive
research by Yeshiva University has concluded that cholent served
occasions other than Saturday afternoon descends to the taste of, G-d of
Abraham forgive us, cassoulet.

    *) Cholent ala Wilson

    *) Mixture of beans (navy, pinto, lima, kidney, and/or great

    *) (At least) 8 ounces of barley

    *) Sizable chunks of short ribs, brisket, and/or chuck

    *) Handsful of chopped onions

    *) Chunks of potato, peeled

    *) Salt, pepper, paprika

    *) Lots of garlic, preferably fresh crushed

Layer bottom of heavy Dutch oven or crockpot with chopped onions and
garlic. Add meat. Season. More onions and garlic. Add barley and beans.
Season again. More onions and garlic. Add potato chunks. Season again.
Sprinkle liberally with paprika. Cover with water 'til the tips of the
potatoes peek out like the crest of Ararat above Noah's flood. Cover
with heavy lid and cook at 225 degrees from Friday afternoon* 'til after
synagogue Saturday noon. Don't peek!

Eat. Enjoy. Remember the most fitting epitaph for a hearty Sabbath
dinner of cholent, first spoken by the brother of my grandfather's
second wife: "That was delicious. Would anyone care for a Tums?"

    Marc Wilson is a rabbi, syndicated columnist and organizational
    design consultant in Greenville, SC. A collection of his essays may
    be found at, and he may be reached at

* Note: To conform with Jewish law, cholent must be partially cooked
before Shabbat begins. Consult your rabbi for details.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                          Faige Finds the Way

In this newest release from HaChai Publishing, 11-year-old Faiga lives
with her family on a small farm on the outskirts of Kiev. They certainly
aren't rich, but Papa has always been able to give charity and provide
his family with all their holiday. But this year, money is tight and
things look grim. Faiga is so anxious to help her family. But just what
can a young girl do on her own? This historical fiction story gives the
reader a glimpse into the daily life of a family in Eastern Europe in
the early 1800s. Designed for the newly independent reader, this "fun to
read" book is written by Batsheva Brandeis and illustrated by Alexander

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       3 Menachem Av, 5714 [1954]

Greetings and Blessings!

This letter is a response to the undated letter in which you write that
though you[] are pleased that you moved to ..., at the moment your
salary does not quite suffice to meet your needs, and this is affecting
your mood.

This is most surprising. After having palpably witnessed G-d's kindness
toward you, do you really not have enough faith in His absolutely
certain ability to guide you with His acts of loving-kindness in the
future, too, and to free you from your straits? And even if, for reasons
not understood by us, this is delayed, it is only the Creator of the
universe, Who knows the future and Who knows what is truly good, that is
able to decide in what manner - the manner that is best for a man and
his household - He should bring them to their true happiness both
materially and spiritually.

If the above applies even with regard to people whose present situation
is less positive than it was previously, and also less positive by
comparison with their environment and their acquaintances, how much more
obviously does it apply with regard to people whose situation has
improved from what it was. And in these difficult months, your situation
is certainly better than that of quite a number of people around you,
who nevertheless are not despairing, G-d forbid. Most certainly,
therefore, neither you nor your wife ought to be dispirited or saddened,
G-d forbid. We have seen it proved in practice that the greater a man's
trust, and the more he looks toward his future with joy, the faster do
these things materialize on a practical level.

I hope that you will soon gladden me with good news concerning all of
the above, both in relation to yourself and in relation to your wife.

With blessings,

                                *  *  *

                      12 Menachem Av, 5714 [1954]

Greetings and Blessings!

In response to your letter dated Wednesday of the week of the Torah
portion of Matos, in which you write that the state of your livelihood
is not as it ought to be and that you have many debts, etc. etc.:

The end of your letter, about your lack of joy, contradicts the
beginning of your letter that describes what you have been through. To
use your words: by means of miracles, literally, you remained among the
surviving refugees and built a family, and so on.

Make yourself a calculation. If G-d was able to save you from the events
of past years and enabled you to succeed in building a Jewish home based
on the foundations of the Torah and the mitzvos [commandments], how much
more certainly can He, Who "provides nourishment and sustenance for
all," see to your livelihood and that of your family.

This depends only on bitachon [trust] and on the mitzvah of tzedakah
[charity], for vis-a-vis Heaven, perfect trust - that G-d will provide
for your needs and the needs of your household - is effective. This is
particularly so when this trust is accompanied by contributing to
tzedakah. For concerning tzedakah it is written, "Put Me to the test,
please, in this," in fulfillment of the teaching, "Tithe in order that
you grow rich."

May G-d enable you to give good tidings concerning all the above...

                                *  *  *

                         29 Kislev, 5720 [1959]

Blessings and Greetings!

...As we heard from my revered father-in-law, the [Previous] Rebbe, when
a soldier sets out to the battlefield, he strides forth to the joyful
rhythm of a triumphal march. This makes it possible for the victory to
be greater and speedier.

The same applies to the subject mentioned above. If you, and all those
who are active together with you, step out with a joyful certainty that
your efforts will be victorious, that victory will be easier, sooner,
and greater....

Above all, one must strengthen one's trust - that Chassidus will hold
its ground everywhere, including [your hometown]. Accordingly, happy is
your lot that you are involved in this task, a task that should be
carried out "with joy and with a gladsome heart," in the spirit that our
forebears, the Rebbeim, expect of every individual.

With blessings for good news in all the above,

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
Many authorities consider that the blessing over the candles is also the
acceptance of Shabbat. Therefore, the normal sequence of first reciting
the blessing and then performing the mitzvah would result here in the
impermissible lighting of the candies on Shabbat. Thus we cover the
light immediately after the kindling so that we will not enjoy it until
after the blessing has been made.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This coming Thursday, the ninth of Adar, is the anniversary of the
Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's arrival in the United States.

In honor of this occasion, I would like to share with you an explanation
of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, on a point from
this week's Torah portion.

In this week's portion, we read the verse, "Make Me a sanctuary and I
will dwell within them." Why does G-d say He will dwell in "them" and
not in "it"? Within them, as explained by Chasidic literature, means
within every Jew. For, within the soul of every Jew is a place devoted
and dedicated to G-dliness.

The Previous Rebbe explained: The site of the sanctuary remains sacred,
even in times of exile and desolation. The Midrash says that the Divine
Presence never departs from the Western Wall. The destruction of the
Temple is limited to its building alone. This is true, too, of the
personal sanctuary within every Jew. For, the foundation of every Jew is
whole. Every form of spiritual desolation found in the Jewish people is
only in those aspects of a person analogous to the part of the building
above the foundation. The foundation of the individual sanctuary,
however, remains in its holy state.

Expanding on this idea, the Rebbe spoke on numerous occasions about the
need to turn our homes into mini-sanctuaries. This is accomplished by
turning our homes into sanctuaries for Torah study, charity, and prayer.
In addition, we would do well to fill the house with true Jewish
furnishings - Jewish books and a charity box attached to a wall so that
it becomes part of the actual structure.

Each family member, including children of all ages, can also participate
by making their own rooms into mini-sanctuaries. Torah study, prayer,
and charity can all be practiced in the mini-sanctuary, as well as other

Within every Jew, within each Jewish home, is that spark of G-dliness
that remains totally indestructible. It is the sanctuary that G-d
commanded us to make in this week's Torah portion. May we all merit to
beautify and enhance our own personal sanctuary.

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

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

                                         (Rabbi Yosef Ber of Brisk)

                                *  *  *

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

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

                                               (Kiflayim L'Toshiya)

                                *  *  *

The menora shall be made (Ex. 25:31)

Rashi explains that the words "shall be made" are passive, indicating
that the menora would be made by itself, and not by Moses, who was in
the midst of receiving instructions from G-d how to fashion all the
other utensils to be used in the Sanctuary. Rashi states that Moses did
not fully understand how the menora was to be formed, so G-d told him to
throw the gold into the fire, and He would make the menora Himself. Why
was Moses so perplexed by the menora, but not by any other command even
more complex? Our Sages said that the purpose of the menora was to serve
as a testimony to all who saw it that the Divine Presence rested among
the Jewish People. Moses, for his part, had difficulty understanding how
it was possible for one small menorah to light up the entire physical
world. G-d answered him: "You are right - this is beyond the power of
mere flesh and blood. Therefore, throw the gold into the fire and I
Myself will make the menora."

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

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

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

                                   (The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
In the vicinity of Lizensk in Galacia lived a number of Jews who made
their living from orchards, taverns and inns that they rented from the
local Polish Squire.

Every year, when the Jews came to renew their leases, the Squire
demanded higher rents. But the poor Jews pleaded with him and the Squire
would soften. Some times he even reduced the rent and gave them more
time to pay their debts.

Each time this happened, the Squire felt miserable. Why was he such a
softie when it came to the Jews? He decided to ask the priest. The
priest told him: "It is because of the Rebbe, Rabbi Elimelech. The Jews
always go to him before they are to appear before you and ask him to
pray for them." The priest explained that this was why even the stony
heart of the Squire melted like wax in his dealings with the Jews. "The
only thing to do, " the priest told the Squire, "is to banish Rabbi
Elimelech from Lizensk. The Jews will no longer be able to turn to him
for help and you will be free to do as your heart desires."

The Squire liked this advice and sent word to Rabbi Elimelech that he
must be out of the province in 30 days. The Squire was very pleased with
himself and celebrated by going on a wild boar hunt in his forests. For
hours, he and his entourage rode deeper into the forest.

When the Squire grew tired, he stopped at a river, threw off his clothes
and plunged into the cool, refreshing water. Upon reaching the other
side, he lay down and fell asleep in the warm sun. When he woke up, he
swam back. But, when he reached the shore he saw that his servants and
horses were nowhere to be found. Even his clothes were gone.

The Squire had no choice but to make his way back to his castle on foot.
It wasn't until he reached a small hamlet and the children stood
laughing at him that he realized his true predicament. No one would
believe that he was the squire. Why, he was only wearing his
undergarments, he wasn't even wearing any clothes! Someone had pity on
him and gave him some old rough clothing. He walked and begged his way
back to Lizensk.

The Squire arrived on Sunday and went immediately to the church. There,
he was amazed to see that one of his servants had put on his clothes
that had been by the river, and was now pretending to be the Squire.

Suddenly, the Squire remembered that his trouble started right after he
had ordered the holy Rebbe out of his town. He decided to go to the
Rebbe and ask for forgiveness. He vowed that he would always be good to
the Jews if the Rebbe would restore him to his former state.

After the Squire finished telling the Rebbe what had transpired, the
Rebbe took out a large amount of money and handed it to the Squire.

"I'm loaning you this money. Go to your Jewish tailor who made your
Sunday clothes and have him make an exact copy by next Sunday. Next
Sunday, you will walk over to your coach, which waits behind the church,
and drive back to your castle. After that, you will know what to do,"
Rabbi Elimelech told the Squire. The Squire did exactly as the Rebbe
advised. When the imposter arrived on foot at the mansion, puzzled why
the coachman had not waited for him, the real Squire had him seized and

Now, the Squire was once again the old squire. But, having lived through
the experiences of the past few days, he was not his old self anymore.
After experiencing the pain of hunger, ridicule and helplessness, he
could better understand his Jewish subjects. He became very friendly
toward them, and especially their saintly Rebbe.

                                              From Talks and Tales.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
An aerial view of a Jewish cemetery often discloses that the plots are
arranged in such a way that the foot of each grave is directed towards
the Holy Land; within the Holy Land, towards Jerusalem; within
Jerusalem, such as on the ancient Mount of Olives, towards the Temple
Mount - so that the body of every departed Jew is laid to rest "as if
ready to arise and go up to Jerusalem" with the Resurrection of the Dead
in the Messianic Era. (In some cemeteries, for the same reason, the
custom is that the foot of each grave is directed toward the [path
leading to the] gate through which one leaves.)

                                                   (Gesher HaChaim)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 910 - Terumah 5766

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