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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 924
                           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.
        June 16, 2006         Beha'aloscha        20 Sivan, 5766

                          Password Protection

We all know the value of passwords these days, although passwords aren't
always words. Sometimes they're numbers, or combinations of letters and
numbers. However they're composed, though, passwords protect our data,
safeguarding personal information and preventing intruders from gaining
access. Passwords are electronic guardians.

But what happens if we forget our passwords? Then we're the ones who are
locked out. We can't get into our bank account. We can't access that
file with the information we need for tomorrow's report. We can't get
into the website to post our latest thoughts. We can't play that game
online. We can't even read our email.

Without our password, we're like the hacker or the thief. Indeed,
there's no way to tell us apart, without the password.

What protected us, distinguished us, identified us, gave us exclusive
entrance into "the world" (our world) became a barrier, locking us out
of ourselves, frustrating and angering us, forcing us to hack into who
we are.

But why do we forget our passwords? How do we let such valuable
information slip from our minds? Often, of course, we don't forget the
whole password, only part of it. Part of it we remember, but part we
forget. Or we confuse our passwords, mixing them up. We may have two,
three, a dozen - depending on how many places on line we shop or do our
banking and bill-paying. But still, we make up passwords that have some
connection to us. They come from our experiences and our memories. So
how can we forget them?

The Torah and mitzvot (commandments) are spiritual data, the "bank
account" and "websites" of our souls, so to speak. And we need to know
how to gain access to those important and very private locations.

Saying a bracha (blessing) before eating is an example of a password
that can help gain entry to the spirituality in a fruit or other food.

Regarding tzitzit, the Torah says "You will see them and remember all
the commandment of the L-rd and you will do them. And you will not
wander after your hearts and your eyes which you use to go astray."

Tzitzit - the fringes at the end of the a tallit - are a mnemonic
password, with the numerical value of its letters, strings, and  knots
adding up to 613, the number of mitzvot.

The tzitzit serve as a visual password when we see them - and focus on
the meaning they evoke, what they remind us to do - or not to do. If we
mix up the messages, we risk being led astray by distracting sights.

And we can somehow confuse our passwords, by substituting our own values
for those of the Torah, for example assuming that "social justice" can
substitute for Shabbat or that prayer can take the place of helping our
fellow man.

So remembering our spiritual passwords, and which one belongs where, can
help us connect to our spiritual gateways and get us in to our most
essential personal information.

In 1943, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn, of
blessed memory, issued an urgent call to Chasidim to begin a massive
campaign establishing additional religious institutions around the
world. Many people could not understand why the Rebbe was initiating
such a large-scale operation if, as the Rebbe had stated, we could hear
the approaching footsteps of Moshiach. Would not such an undertaking
constitute an enormous waste of effort if the Jewish people are to
return to Israel with the coming of Moshiach?

By way of explanation, the Previous Rebbe referred to a teaching derived
from this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotcha.

"At times, the cloud remained from evening till morning; and when the
cloud was taken up in the morning, they journeyed forward. .. at the
order of G-d they remained in the camp, and at the order of G-d they
journeyed forward."

For forty years, the encampments of the Jewish people as they journeyed
through the wilderness towards the land of Israel, were of varying

They ranged from a short overnight stay to a nineteen year period in the
same location. Yet, at each site, the Sanctuary was erected and
offerings were brought.

Why was it necessary to expend such massive effort even for those
encampments that were destined to last only a few hours?

Erecting the Sanctuary, just like the journeys themselves, was done
solely according to G-d's command.

It therefore matters little whether the Sanctuary stood for many years
on the same spot, or whether it was erected for just a few minutes.

The physical object used in the performance of a mitzva is significant
solely because such is the will of G-d.

In this case, the mitzva to erect the Sanctuary, for whatever length of
time G-d desired, is what imbued the labor involved in its erection with

The Jewish people, "believers, the children of believers," have faith in
the coming of Moshiach and await his arrival each and every day.

Yet this fundamental belief in no way contradicts our efforts to build
up and strengthen Jewish life and institutions while we are waiting. G-d
wants us to take an active role in imbuing our surroundings with
holiness no matter where the exile takes us, for this is His will and an
integral part of Divine Plan.

We needn't worry that Moshiach's arrival will interrupt us in the first
stages of whatever worthy project we are currently involved in; when
Moshiach comes, we will fully understand the significance of all our
service throughout the thousands of years of exile, even those that have
not yet been completed.

           Adapted from a talk of the Rebbe, 19 Kislev, 5717 (1957)

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                        From Singapore with Love
                           by Michelle Elias

I was born and raised in Singapore. Jews began arriving in Singapore
more than 150 years ago as a business community. These Jews were mainly
Sephardim from Baghdad, Iraq. My great-grandparents were such
businessmen and this is how my family came to live in Singapore.

Growing up, I attended public school as there were no Jewish schools in
Singapore. By 23, I had graduated law school, completed the Bar Exam and
was practicing as a family lawyer in one of the largest law firms in

The extent of my Jewish education was Sunday school once a week, which
ended when I became bat mitzva. I did not feel that I was lacking
anything in my Jewish identity: I went to shul on Shabbat when I didn't
have to work, observed Passover, kept some level of kosher and fasted on
Yom Kippur. I always knew that I was Jewish and I was very proud of

In December 2004, I was having a discussion with one of the Lubavitcher
Rebbe's emissaries in Singapore about religious observance in general.
The issue of spirituality, being Jewish and what it meant, had been
brewing at the back of my mind.

In the course of the conversation, I said, "I don't feel any less Jewish
than you just because I drive to shul on Shabbat." He replied "That's
probably true but you will never know what Shabbat is meant to feel like
unless you keep it like I do". By the end of that conversation, I had
agreed to keep Shabbat that week, mostly because it was convenient to do
so as my office was to be closed for the weekend.

Keeping that first Shabbat was easier than I thought it would be, but it
was nothing to shout about. I decided I would give it one more try the
following week. Again, this was a matter of 'convenience' because of
another long weekend.

After that second Shabbat, something awoke inside me. I realized I could
not go back to a life of not keeping Shabbat. This started a process
which slowly unraveled my life in Singapore and put it together again in
Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Keeping those first 2 Shabbats caused me to ask more questions into the
deeper meaning of religious observance. As I learned more, I realized
that Chasidic teachings were providing me with the 'why' behind the
Judaism that I was raised with. I was raised with the 'how' - eat this,
don't eat that, do this, don't do that, eat this on this day, avoid that
on that day... and the list goes on.

The more I learned in the weeks after keeping Shabbat, the more I
realized that there was so much I didn't know and wanted to learn. I
took off six weeks of work to travel and re-evaluate my goals. One of my
stops included 10 days of study at Machon Chana Women's Yeshiva.

A whole new world opened up for me at Yeshiva - I felt alive in a way I
had never felt before. Most importantly, I was sitting in a classroom
learning about something that had meaning, purpose and relevance to my
life. I had never felt this way through four years of law school! It was
in that classroom that I decided to take steps towards changing my life.

I returned to Singapore a few weeks later and by early May, informed my
boss that I intended to leave my job and go to Yeshiva. My boss was also
Jewish. At the end of the conversation, he said something which I will
never forget: "As a lawyer I think you're making a big mistake. But as a
Jew, I understand."

Did I think I was making a big mistake? Never. I regularly wrote to the
Rebbe, asking for guidance and clarity on this issue and thank G-d I was
confident in every step that I made. Was I nervous sometimes? Yes. I
felt very insecure about leaving my life in Singapore behind. Sometimes
I would stop and think "what am I doing? I'm leaving behind a career
that I worked so hard to build, clients who need me, judges whose
respect I have earned through hours of hard work and preparation of my

But as soon as this type of thought entered my head, I would realize
that all the gifts and blessings I had were only because G-d had given
them to me. The time had come for me to give back, to learn more about
G-d and His wisdom. And I wanted to learn about this through the wisdom
and teachings of the Rebbe.

With a little apprehension, I said goodbye to a life of climbing the
corporate ladder, billable hours and court victories. With help from
G-d, the Rebbe and the support of my wonderful parents, I started my new
life at Machon Chana of studying Torah and learning what it means to be
a Jewish woman.

Despite four years of law school and five years as a family litigator, I
was still struggling with reading simple Hebrew words. Despite hundreds
of written submissions to Court that won me cases over the years, my
Hebrew script was barely legible. It was a humbling experience.

My teachers at Machon Chana approach teaching with love and warmth,
showing me that I have done something useful with my life, and more
importantly, that I have the potential to do so much more when equipped
with the right tools.

Many people, both Jewish and non-Jewish,  have asked me why have you
chosen to live such a "restrictive" life? The truth is, its only in
having boundaries that I have understood freedom. The key is
transforming those "boundaries" into guidelines - and using those
guidelines to lead a meaningful life according to the will of G-d. That
is true freedom.

Machon Chana has taught me that living a life according to Torah is true
beauty, and not a single day passes without me learning something new.

           From a speech at the Lubavitch Women's Convention in NY.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                        Million Mitzvas Campaign

The Shul of Bal Harbor, Florida, has embarked on an historic endeavor to
unite the Jewish people through the performance of one million mitzvot
(commandments). Mitzvot make the world a holier place and prepare it for
the coming of Moshiach. Each mitzva that we do creates a garment of
G-dly protection that serves as an aura of holiness embracing the Jewish
people. Every good deed begins with one small step. Choose an individual
mitzva such as lighting Shabbat candles, reciting Shema, putting on
tefilin, or a group mitzva such as joining with others for Torah study,
visiting the  sick or caring for the elderly. To participate in this
extraordinary campaign please visit or call
305-868-1411 ext. 7333.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                            Earning A Living
                  Translated from letters of the Rebbe

... Since in our world all things get better with time, you should not
be overly concerned if your first job will be difficult or your salary
will not be satisfactory, for this is but the beginning [of your job
experience] and "All beginnings are difficult."

Even if you imagine that you are being taken advantage of, as your
productivity warrants a better salary, still, bear in mind that this is
but the beginning.

In the above matter, the teaching "A person is too close to himself [to
be entirely objective]" also applies. You should therefore specifically
seek the counsel of your good friends. After explaining to them the
details and your reasoning, they will be able to offer you objective
advice regarding your job.

                                     Mikdash Melech, Vol. I, p. 236

                                *  *  *

You write that for the time being you have not had any job offers:

In light of that which is explained in Kuntres U'Mayon, man must make a
receptacle [for obtaining his sustenance].

It is therefore inappropriate to wait for others to offer you a job; you
are to go out on your own and actively seek a job, particularly since
this [i.e., acquiring a job] is more important to you than to other
individuals, i.e., those who may offer you a job.

                                     Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 417

                                *  *  *

In reply to your question as to what would be the best type of job for
you to obtain:

Understandably, you should give priority to the type of job where you
can best utilize your talents and knowledge.

Also, seek the counsel of your local good friends, as this will clarify
to a greater extent the situation, potential jobs, etc.

                                 Heichal Menachem, Vol. III, p. 179

                                *  *  *

... Regarding matters of earning a living - it should be according to
the advice of discerning friends. This is in keeping with the verse,
"Salvation lies in much counsel"; which is to say, that the individuals
offering advice are to be wise and discerning so that they are capable
of providing counsel. And "much counsel" means that there be at least
two individuals providing advice, as the minimum of "much" is at least

Moreover, they are to be "friends" - individuals who seek your welfare,
for which reason they will give your situation proper consideration and
offer you sound advice.

                                Sefer HaSichos 5748, Vol. I, p. 240

                                *  *  *

It is regretful that you are finding it so difficult to accept the fact
that you are having temporary difficulties in finding a job, although -
unfortunately - such situations are quite common during present times.

We actually perceive that which is explained in the sacred books, that
the more one increases his faith and trust in the Creator of the world,
the One who conducts it with individual Divine Providence, the sooner
will there come about an improvement in the situation, and the greater
will be the improvement. The same is true with regard to your situation.

                                     Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 223

                                *  *  *

It would seem that once again you are worrying, and central to your
worries is the concern about the possibility that, G-d forbid, you will
not be able to earn a living.

Understandably, it is quite disconcerting that you should be so
concerned; surely that which is stated in Torah in general and in Toras
HaChassidus [the teachings of Chasidism] in particular about faith and
trust in G-d should suffice for you not to worry.

(As is self-understood, this in no way contradicts the need for making a
"receptacle" via natural means, as the verse says, "G-d shall bless you
in all that you shall do." However, this must be done in a manner of "By
the labor of your hands shall you eat," i.e., that your hands should
labor, but not your head and heart.)

This is particularly so with an individual such as yourself, you who
have beheld miracles with your own eyes, miracles that transpired with

Now, all of a sudden you begin to worry if the One who sustains and
nourishes everyone, approximately one billion eight hundred million
people, will be able to sustain you and your family in an honorable and
ample manner.

It would be a misuse of precious time to go on at greater length about
something so obvious.

                                     Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 198

       From "Eternal Joy" translated by  Rabbi Sholom Ber Wineberg,
                                     published by Sichos in English

                   What is the Pidyon HaBen ceremony?

G-d told the Jewish people that their first-born sons must be dedicated
to G-dly service. When the Jews sinned with the Golden Calf, G-d
commanded that the Levites, who had not sinned, serve instead of the
first-born sons. The details of the redemption of the first-born (pidyon
haben) is in Num. 18: 15-16. The first-born son of the mother is
redeemed on the 31st day after birth. At the Pidyon Haben ceremony, the
father gives a Kohain five silver coins in lieu of his son. The son of a
kohain or levi, or the son of the daughter of a kohain or levi is not
redeemed. A festive meal follows the ceremony. If one was not redeemed
as a baby, a man is responsible, after the age of bar mitzva, to redeem

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This week on Shabbat we study the second chapter of Pirkei Avot. One of
the first teachings that we read is from Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi, who said,
"Reflect upon three things and you will not come to sin: Know what is
above you--an Eye that sees, an Ear that hears, and all your deeds are
recorded in a Book."

A deeper explanation of the above is that to keep oneself from
transgressing, one must reflect on three things: the existence of G-d -
who is Above; the all-seeing Eye and all-hearing Ear which makes us
aware of Divine Providence - that G-d oversees everything; that
everything is "written in the Book" which informs us that it is
impossible that we will not be punished for any transgressions.

The Maggid of Mezritch rephrases just a few of Rabbi Yehuda's words and
gives us the following inspiring comment. "Know that everything which is
Above - is from you." Everything in this world is dependent on G-d
Above. But in addition, teaches the Maggid, all the blessings that rain
from Above are dependent on each individual's personal actions.

How can this be so? According to the Talmud, every person must consider
the world as being totally balanced between good deeds and not good
deeds. Through one deed a person can tip the scale to the side of good.

And if this equation is true for any deed, it is certainly even truer
when it comes to deeds which foster love of our fellow-Jews and peace in
the world at large. For, as our Sages have taught, the Torah was given
to bring peace to the world - peace between one person and another and
between the Creator and His creations.

The Rebbe emphasized numerous times of this concept that the world is in
balance, particularly when speaking of the imminent arrival of Moshiach.
Just as in general the world can be tipped to the side of good through
one good deed, so, too, can the arrival of Moshiach be hastened and in
fact actualized through one good deed.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
This was the form of the menora: hammered work of gold, from its base to
its flower it was hammered work; according to the form that the Lord had
shown Moses, so did he construct the menora. (Num. 8:4)

"Beaten work of gold," explains Rashi, means that the menora was to be
made of a single piece of gold, beaten or pounded with a hammer and
other tools, until it assumed the proper shape. Likewise, a person who
desires to transform himself into a "menora," to kindle his G-dly spark
and be illuminated with the light of Torah, should also do the same to
himself - striking away at his negative qualities and working on his
character until he, too, assumes the proper form.

                                                    (Likutei Torah)

                                *  *  *

The base of the menora symbolizes the lowest level of Jews; the flowers,
those on the highest spiritual plane. The Torah demands that the menora
be made out of one piece of gold, just as the Jewish people is but one
entity. Every Jew is incomplete by himself, without the rest of the
Jewish nation, just as in the human body, the foot needs the head to
function no less than the head requires the foot for mobility.

                                                    (Likutei Torah)

                                *  *  *

That there be no plague among the Children of Israel, when the Children
of Israel approach the Sanctuary (Num. 8:19)

There are, unfortunately, those who only reach out to G-d after a
misfortune has befallen them. Our aim should be, however,  to approach
G-d not only through suffering and sorrow, but with joy and happiness.

                                                       (Imrai Noam)

                                *  *  *

But the man Moses was very humble, more so than any man upon the face of
the earth (Num. 12:3)

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi explained that Moses felt humble especially
in comparison to our generation, the last generation before Moshiach.
For, despite the extreme darkness that would reign immediately preceding
the Final Redemption, Moses foresaw and was humbled by the
self-sacrifice our generation would show to keep the Jewish faith alive
even in the most difficult of circumstances.

                                               (Sichat Purim, 5747)

                                *  *  *

The famous Chasidic rabbi, Reb Baruch, once asked his disciple, Rabbi
Baruch Stuchiner, if he had as yet succeeded in locating proper
accommodations in the town of Pshischa. The chasid replied that he had
not yet found a place to stay. Reb Baruch responded: "One who does not
'take up space" will always be able to find a place wherever he goes."

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
In a far-off country lived a king who had, as his closest friend and
advisor, the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community. Often, the king would
call the rabbi to his palace and question him all about the Torah and
Judaism.  The rabbi answered all the king's questions patiently and

On day, the king called in his friend.  "I have a question that has been
bothering me for some time now.  I have failed to find a satisfactory

"Ask, your Highness," said the Rabbi, "and with G-d's help I will be
able to answer."

"While studying your religion," began the king, "I have learned that one
of your basic tenets is to believe in G-d who created the heavens and
the earth.  Now, my dear Rabbi," the king continued, "before we can
believe that G-d created the world, we have to be sure that there is a
G-d.  What proof do we have that G-d created the world?  Perhaps it came
about by itself."

While the king posed these questions, he accidently brushed his elbow
against a bottle of ink which was on his desk.  The bottle turned over
and the ink spilled out, blotting up the papers which were near the ink
bottle and spilling on the king.

The king jumped up from his seat, excusing himself for being so
careless, and left the room to change his clothes.

As soon as the king left the room, the rabbi quickly took the ink-filled
papers off the king's desk and threw them away.  The rabbi, who was also
an artist, then took a clean sheet of paper and began drawing a picture
of lofty mountains, tall trees, a river, and beautiful flower gardens.
As soon as he finished drawing the picture, he placed it on the desk
right next to the overturned ink bottle, making it appear as thought the
ink had spilled on the paper.

Soon, the King returned to the room, and immediately noticed the
beautiful drawing on his desk.

"What is this?" asked the king in surprise.  "Who drew this beautiful

The rabbi smiled at the king and said, "Oh, when the ink spilled all
over your desk it made this picture!"

"Come now," cried out the king, "certainly you are smarter than that.
How could you say such a thing?  Why, a magnificent drawing like this
can not happen by itself.  Surely someone drew this breathtaking

"Please come with me onto the balcony," offered the rabbi. Once outside,
the rabbi began, "Your majesty, tell me, where did all of these tall
trees come from?  Who formed these high mountains?  And look at the
beautiful flowers in your gardens below, who made them?"

The king nodded, beginning to understand.  The Rabbi continued, "Just a
few moments ago, you yourself proclaimed that it would be foolish to say
that anything came about by itself. Obviously, it was I who drew the
picture you found on your desk in an attempt to prove that G-d created
the whole world.  For who or what, if not G-d, made the heavens, the
sun, moon and stars?  Who filled the deep oceans and formed the lofty
mountains?  The answer is as "black and white" as that drawing on your

The king was impressed and satisfied with his friend's sagacious answer.
For many years he continued to enjoy the rabbi's sharp wisdom and

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Moshiach will be a faithful shepherd of the Jewish people, caring for
every Jew with a total commitment, so that not a simgle Jew will be

                                                   (Pesikta Rabati)

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 924 - Beha'aloscha 5766

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