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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1079
                           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 17, 2009         Matos-Masei         25 Tamuz, 5769

                               In Between

Sometimes we find ourselves in between. You know, caught in a bind
between two events, related, both unpleasant - one leads to the other,
and it's uncomfortable. It's the waiting period - you know, after you've
hit the ball through the window - yeah,  your parents know it's you -
and before the inevitable punishment and lecture occur. Or after the
plumber's looked at your sink and before he tells you what's wrong.
Or... but you get the idea.

The point is that any transition, any change - even positive ones - goes
through three stages: the initiation, the in-between waiting, and the
conclusion, or actual transition. Often we think there's nothing we can
do during the in-between but wait. We act as if the conclusion is a
foregone. Once the process is started, it's inevitable. We took the test
(broke the window), we have to face the consequences. That's it. Just
let the inevitable conclusion happen as fast as possible, so we can get
it over with.

While it's true that many times we can't change the outcome, that
doesn't mean the in-between is an empty period, dead time, that we
should give up and just wait around in limbo.

Rather, we can use the time to do three things: Assess how we got into
the difficulty, make whatever changes we can to either prevent the
problem in the future, to make the in-between easier, better or somehow
mitigate the result, and finally prepare ourselves for the conclusion,
so that we meet the consequences in the best manner possible.

This general understanding applies, perhaps, to all situations, but in
particular to the Three Weeks, the time between the 17th of Tammuz and
the 9th of Av - the darkest period in Jewish history.

These are two tragic days. On the 17th of Tammuz Moses broke the Tablets
because the people were worshipping the Golden Calf. Over a year later,
on the 9th of Av, G-d decreed the generation of the Exodus would not
enter Israel, because of the sin of the spies. On the 17th of Tammuz,
centuries later, the walls of Jerusalem were breached, and on the 9th of
Av, the Temple was destroyed.

And there are many other tragedies that occurred on one of these two

So the period in between, the Three Weeks, is a period of mourning. It
is a time for return and introspection, for increased charity and
charitable acts, and especially for increased study about the Holy

We can apply our observations about the "in-between" to the darkest
"in-between" for the Jewish people.

Assess the cause: The people worshiped the Golden Calf. Our Sages tell
us that they lost faith in Moses's return by half a day; that small
miscalculation and ...

Make whatever changes are neces-sary and prepare ourselves: Increase our
faith in the only way possible - increase our mitzvot (performance of
the commandments). Increase our acts of loving-kindness, our Ahavat
Yisrael - for it was unnecessary discord and baseless enmity that led to
the destruction of the Temple. Increase our repentance and, as mentioned
above, increase our learning about, which expresses our yearning for,
the rebuilding of the Temple.

Prepare for the conclusion: In this case, we should prepare for Tisha
B'Av not expecting it to be a day of mourning and fasting, but rather as
a day of rejoicing and feasting, for if all we have done "in between"
has been done as it ought, then the Tisha B'Av consequence will be the
coming of Moshiach and the era of Redemption.

This week we read two Torah portions, Matot and Masei. Masei, meaning
journeys, delineates the various travels of the Jews in the desert.

When the Jews left Egypt, they were beginning one long journey. Their
departure from Egypt and their travels in the desert were all so that
eventually the Jews would enter the Land of Israel. It would seem, then,
that each of the forty-two stops they made along the way between Egypt
and Israel was not really that significant. The stops presented an
opportunity for the Jewish camp, comprised of millions of people, to
take care of their various needs.

Yet, each and every stop the Jews made in the desert is mentioned
separately, and each one is considered its own journey. Didn't the Jews
reach the desert - and freedom - immediately upon leaving the borders of

In every generation, in each individual's life, there must be an Exodus
from Egypt, a departure from one's own boundaries and limitations.
However, simply "leaving" Egypt is not enough. We must know that even
after working on ourselves and spiritually leaving Egypt, we are not
finished. No matter what spiritual level we have attained, we can still
go further, we are still bound by our "Egypt." We must begin a new
"journey," getting stronger and stronger as we go along.

There is a two-fold lesson from these "journeys."

Even when one has already attained a high level, one must never be
content with what one has already achieved. Our whole purpose is to move
in an upward spiritual direction - never to stagnate and remain in the
same place. Each day that is granted to us by G-d should be utilized for
fulfilling this mission. However, we must be cognizant that in relation
to what is above us and what we can still achieve, we are still in

On the other hand, one must never despair of all there is left to
achieve and of one's lowly, spiritual state. One must remember that it
is possible, through work, to leave "Egypt" immediately, with only one
journey. We must never think that our toil is in vain; with one move we
can elevate ourselves and reach the "good and wide land" - the Land of

                   Adapted from Likutei Sichot of the Rebbe, vol. 2

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                            by Yehudis Cohen

It is a beautiful summer evening and I am walking around Crown Heights,
the Chabad-Lubavitch neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York - home to "770"
Eastern Parkway, the Lubavitcher Rebbe's synagogue and World Lubavitch

Thousands of my neighbors are out tonight as well. No, it's not a
pre-scheduled "Take Back the Night" event. In fact, far from a sense of
seriousness or determination in the air, there is a feeling of
lightness, joy, and excitement.

On this last Sunday in June, there are six engagement parties and four
weddings taking place in this Jewish community of 2,500 families. And
although there are surely thousands of little children sleeping
peacefully in their beds and hundreds of adults who are at home, as
well, the prevailing atmosphere in the neighborhood is one of true joy
and happiness.

How does someone with a wide circle of friends and/or many relatives
manage on a night like tonight?

They go "Simcha" hopping, of course!

I meet a friend of mine on her way into one of the engagement parties.
She has just come from one of the weddings -the groom's mother was her
long-time friend and relative through marriage. It is already close to
11 p.m. and I am at my third and last engagement party for the evening.
My friend is at the first of four she is still planning on attending. A
quick "mazel tov" to the mothers of the newly engaged bride and groom, a
nod here or there in the direction of a friend, neighbor or out-of-town
guest who has come in specially for the simcha (a look in the direction
of the Viennese table if you're on a diet and a taste if you're not),
and you're off to the next simcha.

I see my friend dashing out. Her feet are aching from the hours of
dancing earlier at the wedding and she has been offered a ride to the
next engagement party. On a night like tonight most people do not drive;
none of the wedding halls in the neighborhood have parking lots and only
a few offer valet parking. Engagement parties are generally held in
synagogues or private homes.

As I walk home, I meet an acquaintance. "Mazel tov" we greet each other
with big smiles on our faces. Neither of us is directly related to any
of the people celebrating simchas this evening, but we wish each other
"mazel tov" all the same. Once, one of my children who was accompanying
me to a simcha asked me "why." "Why are you saying 'mazel tov' to
everyone that you meet tonight going in or out of the simcha? They're
not the person who is... (fill in the blank: engaged, having a Bar
Mitzva, getting married, or the mother, father, sister, brother,
grandmother or grandfather of one of the above).

I explain to my child, "It's because all Jews are one family. We're all
related. We feel each other's pain and suffering, and we rejoice in each
other's simchas and good news.

I think about this short explanation I have given to my child as I
continue walking home and as I continue greeting neighbors with a smile
and a "mazel tov." This is such a basic ingredient of ahavat Yisrael -
love of one's fellow Jew; feeling their pain and rejoicing in their
simchas. (In fact, a Chasid of previous generations would berate himself
if he heard of a misfortune that had befallen another Jew - any Jew,
even a Jew whom he had never met and with whom he had never had any
connection  - and he was not as shaken by the news as if it had happened
to him personally or one of his immediate family members.)

I am finally home. Before I go to sleep I have to "put L'Chaim to bed."
I think about sharing my evening's experiences with the readers of
L'Chaim, especially as this issue that is going to print will be read
during the "Three Weeks."

The Three Weeks are a time of national mourning for Jews over the
destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish
people for the past 2,000 years. The mourning begins on 17 Tammuz when,
in 69 CE the walls around Jerusalem were breached by the Romans. Three
weeks later, on 9 Av, the Holy Temple was set on fire. (On a recent trip
to Israel I saw huge stones near the Western Wall in Jerusalem that
still have the black soot from that fire nearly 2,000 years ago.)

During these Three Weeks, like mourners, we do not celebrate weddings,
we do not listen to music, we do not take haircuts, nor do we purchase
new clothing. We are not required to be sad, but we lessen our external
demonstrations of rejoicing. In previous generations, there was an
emphasis on the lessening of rejoicing.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explained that this was the appropriate approach
in the past, when we were so much closer to the times of the destruction
and so far away from the ultimate Redemption. But today, when we
literally strand on the threshold of the Redemption, we should take
every opportunity in permissible ways to rejoice during these Three
Weeks. This includes the inner contentment and joy we (should) feel when
studying Torah and particularly when completing a section of Torah
learning. In addition, we should rejoice in the simchas of all of our
friends, relatives and acquaintances: a new baby, a brit mila, a Bar
Mitzva or Bat Mitzva, an engagement. And don't forget about birthdays,
anniversaries, new jobs (and holding onto old ones!). When you hear
about another Jew's good news, rejoice, as if it was your own. Because,
in truth, we're all one family and it is your good news!

This kind of unity and rejoicing in each other's good news and good
fortune is foretaste of the unity and rejoicing that we will all
experience with the rebuilding of the third and eternal Holy Temple, may
it commence immediately!

                               WHAT'S NEW
                       Bar Mitzva of 107 Orphans

One hundred and seven orphans celebrated their Bar Mitzva together at
the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The boys each received tefilin, a talit,
a prayerbook and a kipa. Each Bar Mitzva boy was called to the Torah for
an aliya. The Bar Mitzva celebration is organized annually by Kollel
Chabad for orphans of Israeli soldiers who have lost their lives
defending Jews in the Holy Land.

                            THE REBBE WRITES

    The following "memorandum" was written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in
    response to a query by psychologist Dr. Yehuda Landes (o.b.m.)
    regarding meditation

                          Teveth, 5738 [1978]

It is well known that certain oriental movements, such as Transcendental
Meditation (T.M.), Yoga, Guru, and the like, have attracted many Jewish
followers, particularly among the young generation.

In as much as these movements involve certain rites and rituals, they
have been rightly regarded by Rabbinic authorities as cults bordering
on, and in some respects actual, Avodah Zarah (idolatry). Accordingly
Rabbinic authorities everywhere, and particularly in Eretz Yisroel
[Israel], ruled that these cults come under all the strictures
associated with Avodah Zarah, so that also their appurtenances come
under strict prohibition.

Moreover, the United States Federal Court also ruled recently that such
movements, by virtue of embracing such rites and rituals, must be
classifies as cultic and religious movements. (Of. Malnak V. Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi, U.S.D.C. of N.J. 76-341, esp. pp. 36-50, 78)

On the other hand, certain aspects of the said movements, which are
entirely irrelevant to religious worship or practices, have a
therapeutic value, particularly in the area of relieving mental stress.

It follows that if these therapeutic methods - insofar as they are
utterly devoid of any ritual implications - would be adopted by doctors
specializing in the field of mental illness, it would have two-pronged
salutary effect: Firstly, in the view of the fact that these methods are
therapeutically effective, while there are, regretfully, many who could
benefit from such treatment, this is a matter of healing of the highest
order, since it has to do with mental illness. It would, therefore, be
very wrong to deny such treatment to those who need it, when it could be
given by a practicing doctor.

Secondly, and this too is not less important, since there are many
Jewish sufferers who continue to avail themselves of these methods
though the said cults despite the Rabbinic prohibition, it can be
assumed with certainty that many of them, if not all, who are drawn to
these cults by the promise of mental relief, would prefer to receive the
same treatment from the medical profession - if they had a choice of
getting it the kosher way. It would thus be possible to save many Jews
from getting involved with the said cults.

It is also known, though not widely, that there are individual doctors
who practice the same or similar methods as T.M. and the like. However,
it seems that these methods occupy a secondary or subordinate role in
their procedures. More importantly, there is almost a complete lack of
publicity regarding the application of these methods by doctors, and
since the main practice of these doctors is linked with the conventional
neurological and psychiatric approach, it is generally assumed that
whatever success they achieve is not connected with results obtained
from methods relating to T.M. and the like; results which the cults
acclaim with such fanfare.

In light of the above, it is suggested and strongly urged that:

Appropriate action be undertaken to enlist the cooperation of a group of
doctors specializing in neurology and psychiatry who would research the
said methods with a view to perfecting them and adopting them in their
practice on a wider scale.

All due publicity be given about the availability of such methods from
practicing doctors.

This should be done most expeditiously, without waiting for this vital
information to be disseminated through medical journals, where research
and findings usually take a long time before they come to the attention
of practicing physicians. This would all the sooner counteract the
untold harm done to so many Jews who are attracted daily to the said
cults, as mentioned in the opening paragraph.

In conclusion: This memo is intended for all Rabbis, doctors, and layman
who are in a position to advance the cause espoused herein, the
importance of which needs no further elaboration.

Needless to say, even if one feels doubtful whether he can advance this
cause, or whether the expectation warrants the effort - the vital
importance and urgency of saving so many souls from Avodah Zarah, not
only warrants but dictates every possible effort, even if there be a
doubt about achieving success; certainly when there is every reason to
believe that much, indeed, can be achieved, with G-d's help and Zechus
Harabbim [the merit of the many].

                            A CALL TO ACTION
                        Make Torah Celebrations

As a further preparation for the Messianic Era, to reveal the positive
qualities and joy that are latent in these Three Weeks, conclusions of
Torah works (siyumim) should be held on each of the Nine Days including
Shabbat. These activities will hasten the transformation of these days
into days of celebration, when with true and complete joy we will
proceed together with Moshiach, to the Holy Land in the true and
ultimate Redemption.

                                       (The Rebbe, 18 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
The rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple is central to the Redemption.
Maimonides states that the rebuilding of the Temple will actually
confirm that the Redemption has begun.

There are two differences of opinion as to who will build the Temple.
According to the Zohar, G-d Himself will build the Temple. The Midrash
(Vayikra Rabba and Midrash Rabba) states that man will build the eternal
Holy Temple.

Maimonides' ruling agrees with the Midrash, saying that rebuilding the
Temple is a commandment incumbent upon the Jewish people.

Although these opinions may seem at variance, they are, in fact, not

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the Jewish people will build part of
the Temple, as commanded, and that the Divine features of the Temple -
those aspects which will ensure its eternity - will be built by G-d

Maimonides does not mention Divine participation because his work is a
work of halacha, Jewish law; he writes only about that which is
incumbent upon the Jewish people.

The man-made and the G-dly components will be combined in the Holy

Chasidic thought teaches that this combination of man's effort "from
below," united with G-d's effort "from above," is the true meaning of

For, with the Redemption, the material and the spiritual will be
eternally and fully bound.

One explanation of how they will be com-bined is brought from the verse
in Lamentations, "Her gates sank into the ground..."

The Midrash asserts that the gates of the Holy Temple are buried on the
Temple Mount. When the Third Temple descends from heaven, the gates will
rise up - but only with man's help. As the one who fixes the gates is
considered to have built entire house, so too, in this case, the Jews
will thus fulfill the commandment to build the Holy Temple by fixing its
gates in place.

May it happen in the immediate future.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Moses said to the children of Gad and the children of Reuben, "Shall
your brothers go out to battle while you settle here?" (Num. 32:6)

The tribes of Reuben and Gad wanted to stay in the land east of the
Jordan river. Even though the Jewish people are dispersed all over the
world, we are emotionally connected, and when a Jew experiences
misfortune, Jews all over the world feel compassion. Therefore, Moses
asked the tribes of Reuben and Gad, "Can you sit here calmly and enjoy
your land when you know that your fellow Jews are engaged in battle?"

                                                 (Sha'ar Bat Rabim)

                                *  *  *

These are (Eileh) the journeys (masei) of the Children of Israel (Bnei
Yisrael) (Num. 33:1)

The first letters of these Hebrew words allude to the four exiles of the
Jewish people: alef/Edom-Rome; mem/Madai-Persia; beit/Bavel -Babylon;
and yud/Yavan-Greece.

                                                   (Nachal Kadumim)

                                *  *  *

And these are their journeys according to their starting places (Num.

The Hebrew word for starting places or departures (motza'eihem) comes
from the same root as descendants, alluding to the future Redemption and
the ingathering of the exiles that will occur in the Messianic era. At
that time, all 42 journeys made by the Children of Israel in the desert
will be duplicated by the Jewish people as they make their way back to
the Land of Israel.


                                *  *  *

Aaron the Priest went up onto Mount Hor at the command of G-d and died
there... in the fifth month on the first of the month. (Num. 33:38)

Our Sages said that "the death of the righteous is equal to the burning
of G-d's house [the Holy Temple]." The fifth month is the month of Av,
the month in which the Holy Temple was burned and destroyed. Another
connection between Aaron's death and the burning of the Temple is as
follows: The Second Temple, in particular, was destroyed because of
causeless hatred. The remedy for causeless hatred is unwarranted love,
which was exemplified by Aaron. Aaron "loved peace, pursued peace, loved
all creatures and brought them closer to the Torah."

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Ptolemy II ruled over the Land of Israel with a friendly attitude toward
his Jewish subjects.  He was a great friend of books, and his gigantic
library contained hundreds of thousands of volumes of all the creative
authors of ancient times.

At the suggestion of his librarians, he approached the Jewish people for
a Greek translation of the books of the holy Bible.  Eleazer, the High
Priest, who was then at the head of the Jewish state in the Holy Land,
sent him seventy of the greatest Jewish sages.  They were well versed in
the Greek language and knew all the meanings and interpretations of the
text of the Bible in the Written and Oral tradition.

When the sages arrived at his palace, King Ptolemy gave them a royal
welcome.  He honored them with feasts and gifts. He then sent them off
to a small island not far from Alexandria.  There, each sage was placed
in a separate room. "Write for me the Torah of Moses, your teacher," he
commanded each one. They were to translate the Bible into Greek while
confined to their rooms. None of the sages was allowed to communicate
with each other.

Miraculously, each individual translation agreed on every point, even on
the most difficult passages in the Bible.  There were a number of places
where each sage intentionally altered the literal translation.  Yet, in
the end, all of the sages had made the same changes despite the fact
that they could not communicate with each other.

For instance, the first verse of the Torah, "B'reishit Bara Elokim"
could have been translated literally - "In the beginning created G-d."
This might easily have been misinterpreted to mean that a deity "In the
beginning created G-d."  However, every sage translated the verse:  "G-d
created in the beginning...."  They also translated "we will make man"
to "I will make man," lest people say that G-d has a dual nature.

The Egyptian ruler and his scholars were amazed at the miraculous feat,
and they rightly honored the scholars upon the completion of the
translation.  The "Septuagint" (Latin for seventy) became one of the
most important documents of Jewish and world literature.

It contains not only all the books of the Bible, but also works not
included in the Bible that were largely lost in their original Hebrew.

The Jews of Egypt were greatly elated by this translation of the Bible
into Greek.  For many centuries they celebrated the day of completion,
the eighth of Tevet, as a Jewish holiday.

However, the Sages of the Holy Land considered the eighth of Tevet as a
day of sorrow for the Jewish people.  They all saw an awesome act of G-d
in it, yet the matter evoked general wonder in non-Jewish eyes.  The day
was nevertheless considered a day as tragic as the day on which the
golden calf was made.

According to the Talmud, the matter was likened to a lion captured and
imprisoned.  Before his imprisonment, all feared the lion and fled from
his presence.  Once imprisoned, all came to gaze at him, saying, "Where
is his strength now?"

As long as the Torah was in the hands of Israel and was interpreted by
the Sages in its own language - Hebrew - it evoked reverence, and many
feared to cast blemish upon it.  Even a non-Jew who desired to study the
Torah had no contact with the Torah until he had acquired a knowledge of
the Holy tongue and the prescribed ways for understanding the Torah.

Once the Torah was imprisoned in Greek translation, it was as if the
Torah were divested of reverence.  Whoever wished could now come and
gaze at her.  Whoever wished to fault her, could now do so.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
In the present era, unity involves people of differing natures joining
together. As the diverse limbs of the body function together as part of
a single organism, so too, unity can be established between different
individuals. Nevertheless, such a bond does not raise a person above his
individual identity entirely. On the contrary, his very awareness of
self should be employed in his efforts to unite with others. In
contrast, the transcendent unity of the Era of the Redemption will raise
every individual above the limited horizons of his personal identity.

                (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 2 Menachem Av, 5751 - 1991)

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1079 - Matos-Masei 5769

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