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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 967
                           Copyright (c) 2007
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        April 27, 2007    Achrei Mos-Kedoshim      9 Iyyar, 5767

                             Sticky Labels

Have you ever noticed all the labels and stickers on pots and pans?
Sometimes it seems like every inch is covered with them. A large one on
the front declares this is a ten gallon pot to be used for boiling. Or,
in the center of an obviously non-stick frying pan, will be a label
telling you this is a non-stick frying pan.

There's another sticker with the price. And sometimes another tag over
that one with a reduced price.

And there are often other stickers - information about how the pot or
pan was manufactured, for instance, but usually just trivial or

Before you can use the pot or pan, of course, you have to remove the
stickers. And that's when it gets, er, sticky.

Some of them are held on by a dab of rubber cement in the center. All
you have to do is peel up the sticker and slowly, carefully, stretch the
rubber cement  until it snaps. The part attached to the now detached
label you just throw away. The rest, still on the pot or pan, you roll
into a little ball which peels off quickly and easily.

But you're not so lucky with some of the other adhesives. They're
attached with a kind of glue, maybe even welded onto the metal - or so
it sometimes seems. When you try to take off such a sticker, often with
hot water and soap, or even a cleaning solution, the outer layer
disintegrates, leaving pieces of paper - or a filmy residue - firmly,
perhaps permanently attached to the metal.

Sometimes it takes years of scrubbing or use until the sticky stuff
comes off.

There is a parallel in our spiritual livess. Our soul, being Divine,
remains ultimately pure - as we say in the morning blessings, "My G-d,
the soul You have given me is pure" - untouched by errors and
transgressions of life in the physical world. But the "sins of our
youth" (and old age) adhere, metaphysically, to our bodies, to our
physical nature.

In other words, our external nature, the part that interacts with the
world, sometimes gets "labeled," and the label "sticks" to us. In the
process of elevating our selves, refining our nature, we need to remove
these "labels" - the way we identify and thus limit ourselves.

How often have we said, for instance, that our Jewish identity, our
observance of a mitzva (commandment), our Torah study extends only so
far because we are only X - whatever definition or limitation we put on

In truth, though, labels improperly label us. Just as a ten gallon pot
can be used for many things, not just what it's "labeled" as, so too our
Vessels (our thoughts, speech and action), which give shape and
expression to the Divine Light within us, far from limiting our
Jewishness, are the means of expressing it.

Sometimes it's easy to remove the labels, to move further in our
observance and Torah study. But sometimes the labels stick, apparently
glued on. We can't seem to make progress, to get beyond a  limiting, and
debilitating, image of our Jewishness or our capacity to express and
enact it.

At such times, we must "scrub harder" - we must increase our Torah
learning and mitzva observance, working on ourselves to rid ourselves of
the residue of externally imposed and self-defeating labels.

As we read in the second of this week's two Torah portions, Kedoshim,
the fruit of a tree's first three years is forbidden. These fruits are
considered orla, literally uncircumcised, and may not be eaten. During
the tree's fourth year its fruit is permissible, but the fruits must be
brought to Jerusalem and eaten in a state of ritual purity. Only in the
fifth year may anyone partake of the tree's fruits and eat them anywhere
he wishes.

As a reward for observing these mitzvot (commandments), G-d promises
that the fifth year's yield will be quantitatively greater. A Jew who
observes these laws merits to receive G-d's blessing of bounty, as the
Torah states: "And in the fifth year shall you eat of its fruit, that it
may increase to you its produce."

Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the first Chabad Rebbe, explains that the fifth
year's fruits are superior to the first four years', not only
quantitatively but qualitatively.

It is significant that even though the fifth year's fruits are the best
thus far, it is permissible to eat them anywhere, not only in Jerusalem,
and that everyone may eat them, not just those in a state of ritual

To explain:

Why did G-d create the world? For the purpose of transforming it into a
suitable dwelling place for Him in the lower realms.

A "dwelling place" is a permanent residence; "the lower realms" refers
to the physical world, including its lowest and most mundane elements.
G-d wants us to be aware of Him at all times, not just when we pray and
study Torah. Even our most seemingly insignificant actions must be
permeated with this consciousness. We must remember that everything
depends on G-d's beneficence, and we must pray for and express our
thanks for every aspect of our physical existence.

For this reason it is precisely the fifth year's fruits, the very
finest, that are eaten in any place and in any spiritual condition. For
the sanctity of G-d's Torah is meant to be brought to every single
person and to every place on earth.

Years ago, whenever the Baal Shem Tov traveled and would meet a Jew, he
would ask about his health and livelihood. Inevitably, the Jew would
respond: "Thank G-d!" "Everything will be fine with G-d's help." These
responses demonstrated that a Jew never forgets about G-d, even when the
subject is business or health.

The Baal Shem Tov deliberately asked about worldly concerns rather than
spiritual matters to accustom people to the idea that everything depends
on G-d's blessing, not just things that are obviously "religious."

When a Jew maintains an awareness of G-d, everywhere and in all
circumstances, s/he transforms the world into a suitable "dwelling
place" for G-d.

                              Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Volume 7

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                       My Brother, My Best Friend

    From a speech by Ari Hoffman at the Chabad Center of Northwest New
    Jersey Founders Dinner

When I received Rabbi Asher Herson's phone call regarding David, I
instantly agreed to meet him. I figured that he would hit me up for a
donation, so I brought along my check book.

But that would have been too easy. Rabbi Herson proceeded to tell me
about the plans for the new Chabad Educational Center, his memories of
David, and his desire to honor him by dedicating a wing of the building
in his name.  It sounded like an amazing idea, until he asked me to be
the guest of honor at the Chabad Founders Dinner.

I promised to think it over. My head was spinning and as we were about
to part ways, the rabbi turned to me and said, "Would you do me a favor?
Every time David and I used to meet, he would put on tefilin. Would you
do me the honor of putting on tefilin in David's memory?"

There I was, in the middle of the parking lot, in the middle of the
winter, with my sleeves rolled up, with the tefilin on my forehead and
arm, shivering in the cold. My body was numb, but I knew in my heart
that I was already committed to this undertaking. Rabbi Herson must have
known the bond between David and I.

They say time heals all wounds, but it does not fill the void left
behind when you lose your brother.

David and I slept together in the same bed until he was 18 and I was 12.
Since I was younger, he made me go to bed first in our unheated room to
warm it up for him, during those cold Russian winters.

When he was drafted into the Russian army, it was a very exciting moment
for me, thinking somewhat selfishly, it meant that I would have the bed
all to myself!

In addition, I appropriated the bicycle that he built, real-to-real tape
recorder, (the iPod of those days), and his entire stamp collection!

All of this made me a happy young kid for a few weeks, until I realized
how much I really missed him.

So at the age of 13, I told my parents that my school class was going on
a trip for a few days. But what I really did was hitch a train and then
a bus, and traveled for 12 hours, until I found my brother, at his
military base.

As my brother and I grew older, we became even closer. I sponsored David
and his family to the United States. Once we were all in America, we
began sharing life's pleasures and milestones together.

Every fall David would start training for our annual ski trips. From the
Alps to the American West, David, Eric, Jean and I would tear-up the ski
slopes. Being a former military man, he would always annoy us, by waking
us up early and not letting any ski time go to waste. When Tracy and I
were married he walked me to the Chupa.

What made David so special? David never thought of himself first. He was
simple, humble, trustworthy, uncomplicated, and always helping others.
He was the essence of human kindness.

Family was very important to him. David was a man of tradition. A man
who raised two wonderful kids. Sadly he didn't have the nachas
(pleasure) of seeing them wed.

David had tremendous respect for our parents and was always there for
them. Now as my mother is recovering in the hospital his absence is felt
more than ever. For my mother, the pain of loosing him is still
unbearable even to this day. I am sorry she is not with us tonight to
share this special occasion

Unfortunately his life was not always "a box of chocolates." But if
there's one thing that David taught me it is this: Modesty is a virtue
and actions speak louder than words.

It is my hope, that great souls will be nurtured in this new Chabad
Educational Center, where David's children, grand children, friends and
family can find a haven for spiritual fulfillment.

David Hoffman was raised in the Soviet controlled city of Chust in a
home where Yiddish was defiantly spoken as his parents attempted to
convey their cherished heritage to their children. This intense
connection to the values of Judaism never left David. Judaism was part
of his soul and would become evident in everything he did.

In 1974, newly wed, David and his wife Hanna immigrated to Israel. David
joined the Israel Defense Forces. In 1982, when Israel was at war in
Lebanon, David was in the front lines with his unit. It was there that
David first encountered Chabad, alongside IDF soldiers. Chabad was there
to help soldiers put on tefilin and pray; it was a powerful message that
David would never forget.

In 1984, along with his wife and two children, David immigrated to the
United States. He was given an opportunity to make it in America through
the renowned Wilf family and their Garden Homes development company.
David quickly proved himself to be a trusted and proud member of this
laudable organization. David also remained dedicated to the vitality of
his people. Even during lunch breaks at construction sights, he could be
seen studying Torah with a study partner, taking advantage of
opportunities previously unavailable.

David first visited the Chabad Center of Northwest NJ in 1995, a few
weeks after its new synagogue had been built. A number of years later,
when the Chabad Center announced that it was pursuing the construction
of an Educational Center and mikva, David approached Rabbi Herson and
offered his assistance. He wanted young children to be exposed to the
richness and values of the heritage he cherished so dearly. David
volunteered his building expertise as well as his assistance in
establishing contacts with exceptional contractors. David also consented
to playing an honored role at Chabad's Founders Dinner. Tragically,
David took ill and was not able to realize this ambition, until now.
Through the seeds David planted, he lives on and his efforts continue to
yield fruits.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                           Israel Behind Bars

Subtitled "Memoirs of an American Karate champ turned Israeli Prison
Chaplain," these true stories are full of hope and redemption.  Find out
what goes on behind bars, from the only American chaplain in the Israeli
penal system.  Join our Jewish brothers and sisters in prison, as they
struggle with hope and despair, growth and rehabilitation. Rabbi Jacobs
is the author of three other books. He also taught hand-to-hand combat
for Israeli security forces and is an eight degree karatze master

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                           Freely translated

                     Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5741 [1981]

                       To All Participants In the
                     Annual Dinner of Oholei Torah
                           G-d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

I was pleased to be informed about the forthcoming Annual Dinner on the
13th of Iyar, on the eve of Pesach Sheni [the Second Passover]. May G-d
grant that it should be with much Hatzlocho [success].

Pesach Sheni came about, as the Torah tells us, when (on the first
anniversary of the Exodus from Egypt) there were several Jews who were
unable to offer the Korban Pesach [Passover offering] and celebrate
Pesach with all the Jewish people, and they voiced their unhappiness
with a heartfelt appeal: "Why should we be deprived of this Mitzvah
[commandment]?" And for the sake of these several Jews, indeed for the
sake of each one of them, an entirely new chapter was incorporated in
the Torah, and a special day was designated in our calendar Pesach
Sheni, with its particular Mitzvos and all this "unto your generations"
- for all posterity.

Thus the Torah, Toras Chaim ("instruction in living"), emphatically
reminds us how precious each and every Jew is, and that no Jew should
ever be deprived of his natural right to fulfill all the Mitzvos, by
reason of circumstances, such as being on a "faraway journey," and the

It has often been emphasized that the best way of coping with
spiritually "deprived" Jews, as in the case of any problem, is -
prevention: to see to it that no Jew should ever find himself in a state
of being on a "faraway journey" from Yiddishkeit [Judaism]. This can be
achieved only through a Torah-true education, permeated with the spirit
of dedication, that is implanted in Jewish children from their earliest
childhood, in keeping with the principle, "Educate the youngster in the
proper path; even when growing old he will not depart from it."

Such is the kind of education that is implanted in the students of
Oholei Torah, with much Hatzlocho, as is well known to those who are
familiar with this educational institution.

However, it is up to all of us to see to it that this Torah institution
should not find itself in a position where it must come with a heartfelt
appeal: "Why should we be deprived?" Surely, it must not be kept back by
the lack of financial means, from carrying on its vital educational
work, and, moreover, from expanding its facilities for a growing number
of students. This is the obligation and privilege of the loyal friends
and supporters of Oholei Torah.

With prayerful wishes to the Honored Guests and all who are active
participants in this great endeavor, and with esteem and blessing for

                                *  *  *

                          Erev Shabbos Kodesh
                     Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5735 [1975]

                         20th Annual Convention
                National Council of Neshei U'Bnos Chabad

On the occasion of the forthcoming convention, taking place on the
weekend of Pesach Sheni, I send greetings and prayerful wishes that the
Convention should, with G-d's help, be crowned with Hatzlocho in the
fullest mesure.

One of the teachings of Pesach Sheni - as my father-in-law of saintly
memory pointed out - is that in matters of Yiddishkeit one should never
give up, and it is never too late to rectify a past failing.

This principle has also been one of the basic factors in the work of the
Rebbe's-Nesiim [leaders] since the beginning of Chabad, who dedicated
themselves with utmost mesiras-nefesh [self-sacrifice] to bring Jews
closer to Torah and Mitzvos, regardless of their level of Yiddishkeit,
and not to give up a single Jew.

The task of bringing Jews closer to Yiddishkeit is especially relevant
to women, for it obviously requires a special approach in terms of
compassion, loving-kindness, gentleness, and the like - qualities with
which women are generally endowed in a larger measure than men, although
all Jews without exception are characterized as rachmanim and
gomlei-chasadim, compassionate and practicing loving-kindness.

The theme of the Convention, "Bringing Light Into the World - The
Obligation and Privilege of Every Jewish Daughter," is especially
fitting in many ways, including this detail in light that it illuminate
its environs regardless of the state of things, all of which are equally
illuminated, and in a benign and friendly manner. This is the way
Torah-Or [Torah-Light] illuminates every Jew in every respect, as it is
written, "Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are

May G-d grant that the convention be carried through with Hatzlocho, and
should inspire each and all the participants to carry on their vital
work in a manner full of light and vitality, and in an ever-growing

                         What is Pesach Sheni?

The 14th of Iyar is Pesach Sheni,  the Second Passover. When the Holy
Temple stood in Jerusalem, all those who weren't capable of offering the
paschal lamb in its proper time on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan
(due to impurity or distance), would offer the Paschal Lamb exactly one
month later, on the 14th of Iyar. It is customary to eat matzah on the
day of Pesach Sheni. There are those who also partake of matza on the
evening following Pesach Sheni.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, wrote:
"The theme of Pesach Sheni is that it is never too late! It is always
possible to put things right. Even if one was ritually impure, or far
away, and even in a case when this impurity or distance was deliberate -
nonetheless it can be corrected."

It's never too late! We can always make up for a past misdeed, omission
or failing through sincere desire and making amends.

It's never too late! What an inspiring and optimistic thought! There's
always a chance to improve, to become better, to learn and do.

This is truly a motto worth memorizing (and hanging on the
refrigerator). Rather than muttering about yourself or another person,
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks," realize that it's never too

You didn't put on tefilin yesterday? Today's a new day and it's never
too late.

You didn't light candles for Shabbat last Friday night? Do it this week;
it's never too late.

You never went to Hebrew school, so you can't read Hebrew? Enroll in an
adult education course; it's never too late.

You never knew that Judaism had so much to offer? Now that you know, do
something about it, because it's never too late!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Akavya ben Mehalel said: "Reflect upon three things and you will not
come near sin: Know from where you came, and to where you are going, and
before whom you are destined to give an accounting..." (Ethics 3:1)

Reflect upon three things - all three together. If you reflect on only
one, or some of them, not only will they be ineffective, but such a
meditation could even cause harm. If you reflect only on the first, you
will come to the conclusion that you are not to blame for anything. If
you reflect only on where you are going you might mistakenly believe
that there is no ultimate judgment and accounting. Therefore, we are
told to also reflect on "before Whom you are destined to give an
accounting." All three aspects of this mediation are dependent upon each

                                                   (Midrash Shmuel)

                                *  *  *

This Mishna teaches a person that he must have three entities in mind
and when he does so, he "will not come to sin." Generally, a person
thinks about two entities, himself and G-d, for "I was created solely to
serve my Creator." We must be aware of a third entity, the world at
large. The world was created by G-d for a Jew to use in service of Him,
i.e., that a Jew should refine his body and his soul, and spread
refinement in the world at large, transforming it into a dwelling for

                        (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 13 Iyar, 5751-1991)

                                *  *  *

Rabbi Shimon said: "... three who ate at one table and did speak words
of Torah there, it is as if they had eaten from the table of G-d..."

Three together can recite "let us bless," the opening phrase of the
zimun, and in this way they form a "pool" of blessing so that each
person partaking of the meal can draw off water according to his needs.
But this must be preceded by words of Torah which enable them to form
this pool of blessing.

                                      (Tzemach Tzedek's Or HaTorah)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
What an honor! The innkeeper felt it almost a holy trust that the Baal
Shem Tov stayed at his inn whenever he visited the area. A special room
was prepared and was always ready in case the tzadik (righteous person)
chanced to drop in.

And so, when it happened that the Baal Shem Tov arrived and made his way
to "his" room, the innkeeper was furious to find that the door to the
room was locked. The innkeeper pounded on the door and it opened to
reveal the slight figure of the gentile servant boy, Piotr who had taken
a few solitary moments of rest inside. Perceiving the innkeeper's anger,
the Baal Shem Tov admonished him. "Don't punish the boy. One day he will
come to your aid when you need it the most."

The Baal Shem Tov turned to the frightened child and said, "What is your
heart's desire?" He replied, "I want to become educated and I want to
have beautiful clothing to wear." "It will be exactly as you wish,"
replied the tzadik, and he mounted his carriage and left the inn.

The boy began attending school and his bright mind quickly grasped
whatever was offered to him. He returned to the inn and became chief
bookkeeper for all the innkeeper's properties.

One day his obvious intelligence caught the attention of a traveling
aristocrat. The aristocrat offered the innkeeper a handsome sum to part
with the young servant, and after consulting with Piotr, the innkeeper

To his great delight Piotr was again enrolled in school and he completed
his studies with honors. The nobleman loved him and took him into his
home saying, "I was not blessed with children and I want to adopt you as
my own."

Piotr succeeded in everything he undertook, and was popular with
everyone. After a time, his master died and all his possessions passed
to Piotr, who was considered to be his only relative.

It was then that it entered Piotr's mind to pay a visit to the Jewish
innkeeper who had given him his start in life. But when he arrived at
his former home, he found strangers in the inn.

"Where is the former innkeeper?" he inquired. The new proprietor told
him the whole sad story, how after the young gentile servant boy had
left, the innkeeper's fortunes had turned and he had eventually lost
everything and was living as a beggar in a nearby town.

Piotr's heart was touched and he traveled to that town and sent out an
announcement that he would be distributing alms to all the poor. The
poor gathered outside his lodgings and he gave each person a few coins.
When he came to his former master, he asked him to relate his life
story. The Jew obliged and only after he had completed his tale, did
Piotr reveal his identity.

The Jew was overwhelmed at the young man's appearance and his obvious
success. "Please allow me to bring you to my estate. I will provide you
with a good living and you will want for nothing."

The Jew was reluctant, but after some coaxing, he finally accepted.
Piotr decided that he would build an inn and give it to the Jew to
manage. When construction was completed, he would send for him. For now,
he paid up all the man's debts and left him a sum with which to live.

It so happened that just at that time a robbery occurred in the town.
With his new-found "wealth," the Jew became the prime suspect. He was
arrested and thrown into jail where he languished for several weeks.

When the inn was completed, Piotr came back to get the Jew, but he was
in prison! Losing no time, he went to the authorities, and attesting to
the honesty of his old employer, obtained the man's release.

Settled on the estate, the Jew and his family were happy as could be,
but that happiness was not to last. The jealous peasants couldn't stand
seeing a Jew in the young master's favor. Together with the local
priest, they cooked up a sure scheme.

One night a woman crept into the courtyard of the inn and laid a small
bundle under the shrubs. Piotr, who was just leaving the inn, watched
silently in the darkness.

The next day chaos broke out at the inn. The priest, the peasant and the
police all converged on the inn and in no time, the Jew was led away in
chains. The trial was swift and the sentence was death.

Again, Piotr arrived and was able to have the Jew released, but this
time just until the day of the trial.

The Jew took advantage of this freedom to run to the Baal Shem Tov,
weeping and begging his blessing.

"Didn't I tell you that the young boy would help you in your time of
need? Go back and don't worry."

The day of the trial arrived and Piotr was ready. Acting as defense, he
summoned the peasant woman to the stand. The ignorant woman was no match
for him, and weeping copiously, she confessed her guilt. Then the judge
took over, questioning the scheming priest. With no way out, he
confessed to masterminding the plot and was sentenced to death by
hanging. Thus, were the words of the Baal Shem Tov realized yet again.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
We must all clearly know that each and every activity and each and every
effort made to spread the wellsprings of Chasidut outward illuminates
the darkness of the exile and hastens the coming and revelation of
Moshiach. There are no words to describe how difficult it is to remain
even one extra moment in exile and how precious one extra moment of the
revelation of Moshiach is.

(From a letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Pesach Sheini 5710 - 1950)

          END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 967 - Achrei Mos-Kedoshim 5767

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