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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1078
                           Copyright (c) 2009
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        July 10, 2009           Pinchas           18 Tamuz, 5769

                               Heat Wave

It's hot! Temperatures in the 90s, in many places humidity in the 90s.
Heat index over a hundred degrees. It's

There are many things we do to try to escape the heat. And we have to be
careful, because with all the fun and excitement and chances for
adventure the summer brings, the heat of summer poses serious dangers.
Our bodies inside and out are bombarded during the summer. Too much sun
can cause sunburn, or worse. The heat can drain us, and we can become

And then there's what the heat can do to our minds and tempers. On the
one hand, it can make us lethargic, almost slow-witted. On the other, it
can inflame our passions, making it easier to get angry. The heat puts
us on edge, and people can be touchy about the trivial.

That's why it's especially important in the summer to stay cool, stay
hydrated, and adequately protect ourselves from the harshness of the

There's a parallel in the spiritual realm as well. In Tanya, the basic
book of Chabad Chasidic philosophy, Rabbi Shneur Zalman explains that
"anger and pride emanate from the element of Fire, which rises upward."
And fire, as we know, consumes itself. Thus, just as we can be
physically consumed by the heat of summer  - sunburn or dehydration - so
can we be spiritually consumed by the heat of our anger and pride.

We can see why it's no coincidence that people are more short-tempered
during the summer or why they think less clearly - for anger and pride
(the heating of the mind) dulls the mind's ability to reason. Reason
requires coolness.

And we can therefore also learn the precautions to take spiritually from
the precautions we take physically. In the simplest terms, we need the
spiritual equivalent of sunscreen and proper clothing, and the spiritual
equivalent of lots of water.

What constitutes "spiritual sunscreen"? How do we protect ourselves
against anger and pride? Well, just as sunscreen creates a barrier
between our skin and the harsh rays, so an awareness of one's boundaries
and limitations can create a barrier against excess pride or anger.
Indeed, we need to go further, and have "bitul," a sense of

We need proper clothing too. Chasidic philosophy tells us that mitzvot
(commandment)  are the garments of the soul. The more mitzvot we do -
the more layers of spiritual clothing we wear - the more protected we
are from pride and anger. It's not just that we're too busy doing
mitzvot to get angry; it's that a mitzva, properly performed, is a
humbling experience.

(Of course it's no coincidence that two of the most important ways to
protect ourselves from the sun are to cover our heads and shield our
eyes - be aware of G-d's Presence over us (anti-anger) and be careful
what we see (anti-pride).

There's a way to prevent getting dehydrated as well; drink lots of water
beforehand. Spiritually, that means studying Torah. The more Torah we
study, the more our minds prevail over our emotions - in this case,
parti-cularly anger and pride. Our reason, cool reason. rules the heart.
Thus we can more readily understand why the Torah is often compared to

And if we didn't take enough precautions? The cure is the same - more
protective clothing and soothing skin creams, more water; spiritually,
more mitzvot, more ego-nullification, more Torah study.

As enumerated by Maimonides, the last of the Torah's positive mitzvot
(commandments) is "to adjudge the laws of inheritance," found in this
week's Torah portion, Pinchas.

Maimonides' enumeration of the Torah's 613 commandments is extremely
precise. If he chose this particular mitzva as the last, it must, of
necessity, express the completion of all the other mitzvot that preceded

The mitzva of the laws of inheritance is actually an extension of the
division of the land of Israel among the tribes. The Land of Israel was
given to us by G-d according to three principles: 1) Inheritance; 2) a
logical apportionment of land; 3) the process of determination according
to lot.

The Holy Land is our direct inheritance from G-d. It expresses the deep
and unique connection that exists between the Jewish people and the

There are three aspects to our possession of Israel, as expressed in the
verse, "How goodly is our portion, how pleasant is our lot, and how
beautiful our inheritance." Inheritance, the third expression of our
relationship with G-d, is the highest level of our connection to Him.

There are three ways in which a person may acquire ownership of an
object: by inheriting it, by purchasing it, or by receiving it as a

The transfer of property through the process of selling depends on the
will of the buyer. He pays money for an object, and it becomes his.

A gift, by contrast, is dependent upon the will of the giver. It is his
decision whether or not to give the gift.

In both of these instances, the object or property passes from one
individual to the other.

Inheritance, however, is an "automatic" process. The inheritor
automatically assumes the place of the one from whom he inherits. This
is the highest level of connection, as it is entirely independent of the
will of either of them.

The process of selling is similar to the apportionment of land according
to logical rules. In the spiritual sense, this refers to the connection
with G-d we achieve from our own individual service - "How goodly is our

The transfer of a gift is similar to the division of land according to
lot. In spiritual terms, this refers to the connection we have with G-d
not by virtue of our actions, but solely because He has chosen us from
all other nations - "How pleasant is our lot."

But the deepest level of our connection with G-d is "How beautiful is
our inheritance." This is an "automatic" connection that has nothing to
do with our personal will. It is for this reason that Maimonides
enumerates this mitzva last, for it expresses the very highest level of
the Jew's bond with G-d.

                             Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Volume 28

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                               Kosher Cop
                            by Steve Riback

Growing up in Southern California, I felt just like every other kid. I
was very active in sports and Boy Scouts, among many other things.
Although I was Jewish, the only time I really knew what that meant was
at Chanuka, when we would light the menora and exchange gifts. I didn't
know anything about Shabbat or Passover, and I don't recall ever fasting
on Yom Kippur.

I currently work as a detective for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department, where I have been for over 11 years. From police chases to
shootings to undercover assignments... you name it and I have probably
seen it.

Ironically, one of the most meaningful events in my life during this
time period had absolutely nothing to do with police work. Six years
ago, through a friend, I was invited to the home of Rabbi Mendy and
Rebbetzin Chaya Harlig, of Chabad of Green Valley, Nevada, for a Shabbat
dinner. During the evening I witnessed many traditions, such as
Rebbetzin Chaya lighting candles, the rabbi making a blessing over the
wine and the delicious challah. As I sat at the table, I felt
tremendously embarrassed, as I had no clue what any of this meant. I was
disgusted with myself because I knew about the Holocaust and the
persecution of the Jewish people and how hard Jews have fought to keep
our traditions alive throughout our existence. And yet there I was, so
uneducated, being so careless with my Judaism.

That first Friday night at the Harligs' home lit a spark within me that
made me want to learn and consume as much information as I could to
compensate for the years of having no education or knowledge in Judaism.
As I learned more and more, I was fascinated with the question of why we
do the things we do. We don't do traditions arbitrarily or casually; we
have specific and meaningful explanations for everything. I took steps
to gradually change to a more meaningful and spiritually gratifying life
as an observant Jew. Observing the Sabbath, eating only kosher foods,
keeping my head covered, not shaving my beard and wearing tzitzit were
now my way of life.

Being Jewish is great and being a police officer is great, but after I
made these life changes, the two didn't seem to mix very well. I always
kept my religion to myself at work, especially while working in an
undercover role. I didn't wear my yarmulke and tzitzit strings out while
involved in undercover police operations. I did, however, keep my head
covered with hats, and always wore my tzitzit, but tucked in. I felt
protected wherever I went, especially while I was working undercover and
not wearing a bulletproof vest.

My Jewish observance remained "undercover," until I was required to
participate in a police operation scheduled for Friday, a day I normally
had off. Although the operation was canceled, it was to be scheduled
again in the near future. I explained to the department head that I
observed the Sabbath but would always be willing to work in an
emergency; however, this police operation could not be described as an
emergency. Therefore, I could not join it on the Sabbath.

In order to avoid future Sabbath conflicts, I voluntarily changed
assignments to a desk job. Little did I know, this was to be the start
of one of the most defining events in my life.

I met with my new supervisor and explained about keeping my head covered
and wearing a beard. My supervisor was very understanding. About six
weeks into this new assignment, a high-ranking officer saw me with my
beard and ordered it to be removed immediately, making no mention of the
yarmulke. I sought the assistance of the department's diversity director
and my rabbi for guidance, and did some research on my own.

I discovered a court case that specifically addressed circumstances
allowing police officers to wear beards for religious reasons. I
presented this information to my department, but was denied permission
to wear a beard and yarmulke. I tried to compromise, saying I would wear
a plain hat instead, but that too was denied.

The most disturbing fact was that both beards and hats were already
allowed under existing policies for my department. After my attempts to
compromise were rejected, I was forced to seek the assistance of
attorneys for a long and costly battle for my own rights, as well as
those of other officers who might face the same opposition.

Support came immediately from Rabbi Mendy and Shea Harlig and from the
local Chabad of Nevada community. The ACLU, the Rutherford Foundation
and the Muslim group CAIR formally supported my case but no Jewish
groups or organizations other than Chabad did. Needless to say, it was
extremely disappointing.

I won the right to wear the beard in a preliminary injunction in
November 2007. The U.S. District Court ruled that my First Amendment
rights with respect to my beard request had been violated by the
department. The judge, however, did not rule on the legality of the head
covering. Instead, he set the issue for a jury trial. The case never
went to trial, since we finally reached a settlement with the police

Ironically, in the settlement, the police force agreed to exactly what I
had suggested at the beginning, before the prolonged legal battle - a
neat beard and a non-yarmulke head covering.

A new policy and procedure has been implemented in the Las Vegas Police
Department in order to prevent this type of incident from occurring
again. The rulings by the judge have established a precedent for others.
However, had the department accepted my compromise earlier, they could
have avoided litigation and a large expense for the taxpayers.

    Steve Riback lives in Las Vegas with his wife Michal and daughter
    Gavriella Leah. For more info, visit Reprinted
    with permission from the N'Shei Chabad Newsletter.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Motti and Temmi Hadar are moving to Johannesburg, South Africa,
where Rabbi Hadar will be the principal of the Torah Academy Boys' High
School in Johannesburg.

The California Delta area is getting a new Chabad House. Rabbi Dovber
and Chaya Berkowitz will be the directors of the new center, serving the
needs of the Jewish residents in Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley,
and Discovery Bay.

Rabbi Shaul and Rosie Pearlstein are arriving soon in Chattanooga,
Tennessee, where they will be  establishing a new Chabad-Lubavitch
Center. Chattanooga is the fourth city in Tennessee to have Shluchim
(emissaries) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                     Freely translated and adapted

                         27 Adar I, 5711 (1951)

It was upsetting not to have heard any news from you for such a long
while. It therefore gladdened me greatly to receive your letter with the
news that - thank G-d - your health has improved. Naturally I will read
the pidyon nefesh (petition) that you sent at the sacred resting place
of my father-in-law, the Rebbe.

Once again, I reiterate my request that you think long and hard about
how G-d directs the world as a whole and each and every one of us in

Realizing this will remove your anxieties, for it will then be clear to
you that G-d takes care of all matters in the best possible manner.
Taking care, [i.e., micromanaging our lives in its every detail,] is not
our responsibility; our responsibility is solely regarding matters of
performing Torah and mitzvos (commandments), over which we were granted
freedom of choice and not over matters that are Divinely ordained and
over which we do not have freedom of choice.

With the above, I am not writing anything new; these matters are
fundamental and known to all. However, if these matters remain
tangential to our lives and we know them only peripherally, and in
actual practice we conduct ourselves as if these matters depend on
ourselves, then we make our lives - our actual physical lives -
extremely difficult.

This, however, is not the case when we are permeated with the concept
that "G-d is my shepherd"  - then even the body and animal soul are
cognizant that "I lack nothing."

Heaven forfend that you think I am chastising you; it is only that I am
pained by your anguish and distress which you cause yourself over
something that has no foundation and surely is also groundless - and as
known, the difference between the service of "tests" (nisyonos), where
the difficulty is merely in the person's own mind and once the person
succeeds in overcoming the test the difficulty disappears, and the
service of "refinement and elevation" (birurim).

Looking forward to hearing glad tidings from you about the improvement
in your and your wife's health.

                                *  *  *

                      15 Menachem Av, 5717 (1957)

In reply to your letter of the 10th of Menachem [Av,] in which you write
that there are times when you feel a constriction in your windpipe:

This is merely a matter of nerves, from which we understand that if you
take your mind off this matter and strengthen your bitachon (trust) in
G-d, "Healer of all flesh and Performer of wonders,"  [i.e., the giver
of the Torah and its commandments,] then your symptoms will gradually
disappear by themselves.

You must, however, provide at least some vessel via natural means in
which to receive G-d's healing. You should therefore go to a doctor and
follow his instructions.

Of course you should also increase your diligence and assiduousness in
your study of Torah, both Toras HaNiglah (the revealed Torah) and Toras
HaChassidus (Chasidic philosophy), and see to affect your friends in
this direction. When you do so, it will be good for you both materially
and spiritually.

                                *  *  *

                         5 Kislev, 5715 (1954)

I recently received your letter that came in response to mine. However,
even in your second letter I fail to see any grounds for your lack of
happiness and for that which you write that suddenly everything has
fallen apart.

Since your lack of happiness is based on something without foundation,
it can easily disappear - "here today and gone tomorrow" - that is,
provided you do not egg it on by morose thoughts that are contrary to
the nature of man and the dictates of our Torah of Life that requires us
to serve G-d (service which can and must be during every moment of our
lives) specifically with joy.

You surely know from your own experience and we verily observe that if
at times it is difficult to battle a certain mood, the best advice is to
distract your attention from the situation not by fighting these
thoughts but by focusing your thoughts elsewhere.

The general catch-phrase for this is: "G-d made man uncomplicated, but
they have sought many schemes."  Since it is "they," [i.e., the person
himself and not G-d,] who is doing the scheming, therefore this can be
easily nullified.

As per your request, when I am at the holy resting place of my
father-in-law, the Rebbe, of sainted memory, I will mention in prayer
all the individuals you wrote about.

I will conclude with my advice - since you sought my counsel:

Completely ignore all your introspective, self-examining thoughts and go
forth with confidence along life's path, since G-d's providence
accompanies all of us every step of our lives - not only regarding those
matters that seem to us to be of great import, but in each and every
detail of our lives. And as known, this is one of the fundamentals of
the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, later expounded upon at length in
the teachings of Chassidus Chabad.

        From Healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit, Vol III, compiled by
           Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg, published by Sichos in English

                            A CALL TO ACTION
                      Study About the Holy Temple

During the "Three Weeks" between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av it is customary to
study topics relating to the Holy Temple. "This study should be carried
out in anxious anticipation of the Holy Temple being rebuilt. We should
study about the Holy Temple with the awareness that in the very near
future, we will see what we are studying about in actual reality.

                                       (The Rebbe, 24 Tammuz, 5751)

    In memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and the other
    kedoshim of Mumbai

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This past Thursday, on the 17th of Tammuz, (July 9, 2009) we
commemorated the beginning of the destruction of the holy city of
Jerusalem. For, it was on the 17th of Tammuz that the fortified walls
surrounding Jerusalem were breached and began to crack and crumble.

The famous Song of Songs by King Solomon is a song of devotion and
commitment between the Jewish people and G-d. One of the verses in it
reads, "Here he is standing behind our wall, looking out the window,
peering through the lattice." This verse describes how close G-d is to
the Jewish people.

On this verse, the Rebbe explained:" "In our generation we see and feel
that Moshiach is 'standing behind our wall.' Even more so, the wall is
not solid, for it already has windows and lattices. Moshiach is looking
out the window and peering through the lattice. He is looking out and
waiting; when will we finish the last few things that we have to do here
in exile?

"If we do not see Moshiach, it is because it is our wall concealing and
hiding Moshiach from us."

The cracking and crumbling of a wall, like the wall surrounding
Jerusalem, however, need not be totally negative, especially when the
wall is specifically the one concealing Moshiach. A few years ago, the
Rebbe discussed the above verse once again and added: "The Righteous
Moshiach is on the other side of the wall, a wall which is already
cracked and crumbling. And through the windows and lattices thus
created, he is looking and peering out at us. It is understood that a
glance from Moshiach gives one the personal strength necessary to
complete the preparations required of him to be ready to welcome

May the wall, lattice, curtain, or whatever it may be surrounding
Moshiach, continue to crack and crumble until we very soon merit the
complete revelation of Moshiach to the entire world.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Our father was not in the company of those who gathered together against
the L-rd in the company of Korach; but died in his own sin, and had no
sons. And Moses brought their cause before the L-rd (Num. 27:3;5)

Moses was reluctant to judge the case of the daughters of Tzelofchad,
lest their claim that their father was not "in the company of Korach" be
misconstrued as a "bribe" that would invalidate his decision. Therefor,
he turned the matter over to G-d to judge it directly.

                                                  (Minchat Chinuch)

                                *  *  *

And if he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his
father's brothers (Num. 27:10)

Why doesn't his inheritance go to his father? Isn't a father a closer
personal relation than an uncle? Rather, the Torah goes out of its way
not to mention the possibility of a son passing away during his father's

                                                   (Meirat Einayim)

                                *  *  *

Let the L-rd, the G-d of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the
congregation (Num. 27:16)

Years later, in the times of the Prophet Samuel, the Jewish people would
make another request for a Jewish leader when they demanded, "Give us a
king." Moses asked G-d to appoint a head "over the congregation,"
whereas the later request was for a leader who could be easily
manipulated by the people.

                                             (Degel Machane Efraim)

                                *  *  *

The Portion of Pinchas

The Torah portion of Pinchas, which enumerates all the festivals of the
year, is usually read during the Three Weeks [between the 17th of Tammuz
and the 9th of Av]. This is because in the Messianic era, the 17th of
Tammuz will be the "first day of Yom Tov," the 9th of Av will be the
"last day of Yom Tov," and the Three-Week period will be "the
Intermediate Days of the Festival," as it states (Jeremiah 31:13): "And
I will transform their mourning into joy." (On Intermediate Days, the
Torah reading reflects the holiday being celebrated.)

                                          (Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Many of the Baal Shem Tov's ways might have seemed strange to an
outsider. Reb Zev Wolf Kitzes, the Baal Shem Tov's constant companion,
however, had enough confidence in his rebbe never to doubt his actions.
He knew that in the end - even if it took years - all would be for the

Reb Zev Wolf accompanied the Baal Shem Tov once on a visit to a certain
village Jew. The impoverished villager welcomed the Baal Shem Tov into
his home whereupon the Baal Shem Tov requested, "I must have a donation
of 18 rubles."

The poor man did not have this large sum. But, considering that it was
the Baal Shem Tov making the request, the villager took some of his
furniture and his cow, sold them and gave the Baal Shem Tov the money.
Reb Zev Wolf looked on silently while the Baal Shem Tov took the money
and then departed.

Several days later the villager's rent was due on his inn. He could not
produce the sum and the landlord evicted him. The villager, seeing no
future for himself in this small village, decided to try his luck
elsewhere. He finally found himself a tiny hut in a different village
with a different landlord. By selling some more of his possessions, the
villager managed to buy a cow. The cow provided him with his sole source
of income; he sold her milk and eked out a meager living.

Some time later the landlord's cow became sick and her milk was
unusable. One of the landlord's servants who knew of the new tenant
quickly went to this villager and bought milk for the landlord.

When the landlord was served the milk, he commented, "This milk is of a
superior quality. Tell the owner that I will pay handsomely for the
privilege of being his only customer."

This incident turned the tide of fortune for the villager. Each day he
delivered milk to the manor and each day the landlord commented on the
quality of the milk and milk products derived from it. He grew fond of
the Jew and began to consult him about his business, slowly turning over
to him many responsibilities. The landlord trusted him implicitly and
appreciated the Jew's honesty, reliability, and faithful service.

The landlord's relationship and bond with the villager became so deep
that, being childless, he transferred ownership of that village and the
nearby city to the Jew. Feeling that now everything was in good hands,
the landlord took leave and went abroad after having given the Jew legal
title to the area.

A few years later, Reb Zev Wolf came to the village of the new landlord
collecting money on behalf of Jewish prisoners and captives. Reb Zev
Wolf had already collected all but 300 rubles of the sum which the Baal
Shem Tov had designated.

Upon meeting with the village rabbi, Reb Zev Wolf questioned him as to
why he was so festively attired.

"I am going, together with a group of the town dignitaries, to greet the
landlord of this city who will be paying us a visit today. Why don't you
come along with us? He is a Jew and will most probably be willing to
contribute to your cause."

Reb Zev Wolf accompanied the rabbi and his companions. The landlord
greeted the delegation warmly, paying special attention to Reb Zev Wolf.
After a little while, the landlord took Reb Zev Wolf aside.

"You don't remember me, do you?" he began. Reb Zev Wolf could not place
the wealthy man's face. The landlord went on to retell the story of his
change of fortune. Then, he took out 300 rubles and gave it to Reb Zev

It was only upon returning to the Baal Shem Tov that Reb Zev Wolf
understood the entire story. "The last 300 rubles were donated by the
village Jew whom you once asked for a donation of 18 rubles. Today he is
a wealthy man."

"Let me now tell you why I extracted that large sum from him when his
circumstances were so difficult," began the Baal Shem Tov. "A change of
fortune was awaiting the villager in the future but not in that place.
It was necessary to bring him to the end of his rope so that he would be
forced to leave and settle elsewhere. That is exactly what happened. The
rest you already know."

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
A person might ask: "How can I bring about the Redemption? I am involved
only in a small portion of the world."  A Jew must infuse G-dliness into
his portion of the world. This will affect the whole world, for each
portion of the world includes the entire world. Thus, a person can
fulfill our Sages' directive, "Every person must say, 'The world was
created for me.' " By fulfilling the intent of his individual portion of
the world, he can bring the entire world to fulfillment. Through
experiencing a personal redemption, and expressing that redemption in
every aspect of his conduct, each person can hasten the universal

                           (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 24 Tammuz, 1991)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1078 - Pinchas 5769

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