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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1097
                           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.
        November 27, 2009       Vayetzei         10 Kislev, 5770

                             Do Not Remove

Surely you've seen the "Do Not Remove" tag on furniture - couches,
mattresses, pillows, etc. Sometimes the phrase "Under Penalty of Law" is
in the same big letters. In smaller letters, something you probably
never paid attention to, is a list of components - what's inside the
pillow, what the couch is made of, how fire retardant the material is.

What would happen if you did rip off the tag? Would the mattress police
come and arrest you? Would some government agency revoke your couch
potato license? No, not at all. If you rip "Do not Remove" tag off a
piece of furniture, you will not be punished.

Well, if nothing's going to happen, if there's no penalty, why are those
tags there, anyway?

A little history: In the early part of the twentieth century, many
unscrupulous manufacturers would stuff bedding and other furniture with
all kinds of stuff - straw, horse hair, old rags - and worse. It wasn't
just a quality control issue; it was a real public health hazard.
Bedding and other furniture stuffing harbored lots of communicable
diseases - including smallpox.

So the government devised a simple system to protect consumers: require
manufacturers to put a list of components on their mattresses, pillows -
anything that had stuffing in it. The consumers could read the "warning
label" and know what was inside that pillow.

The "Do Not Remove" tag provided - still provides - important
information to the consumer. The "ingredients" might be normally
harmless, except to someone with certain allergies. And the tag still
keeps the manufacturer honest.

The "Do Not Remove" tag is there to warn the manufacturer, not the user,
that attempts to deceive or hide information from consumers will have
serious legal consequences.

The Jewish people have their own irremovable tag - our Jewish soul deep
inside. G-d Himself places the "Do Not Remove" tag inside each of us,
certifying that the Jewish essence of our souls can never be defiled,
despite the soul being "stuffed" into a physical body.

We often face unscrupulous "manufacturers." The yetzer hara - our
negative drive from within - or the forces of culture from outside, want
us full of inferior, harmful, selfish stuff. They seek to dismiss the
importance of mitzvot (commandments) and the celebration of Jewish
holidays, misreading the lessons of Jewish history, discouraging Jewish
pride - failing to acknowledge that the centuries of self-sacrifice come
from our very essence.

But we need only look at our "Do Not Remove" tag to remind ourselves
that the Highest Authority has guaranteed the immutable sanctity of our
souls. When we rely on the Highest Authority, following His
manufacturer's guidelines, we can also be sure that we can transform the
physical world around us - we can make a world filled with goodness and
kindness, of the highest quality.

As for the last half of the phrase - "Under Penalty of Law" - we are
assured that ultimately, in the days of Moshiach, the enemies of Israel
shall perish, and the promise made to Abraham - those who bless you will
be blessed - will be fulfilled.

This week's Torah portion, Vayeitzei relates how a single and solitary
Jew left his home and set out for a foreign land, arriving there with
nothing, save for his faith in G-d. "For with [only] my staff I passed
over this Jordan," Jacob declared. Nonetheless, Jacob's steps were sure
and confident, as he had full faith in G-d.

Once in Charan, Jacob quickly saw that there was no one upon whom he
could rely, not even his relatives. His uncle, Laban, repeatedly tricked
and deceived him, yet never once did Jacob lose his faith.

Through outstanding service and dedication to G-d Jacob merited to
obtain great wealth. But Jacob's main achievement in Charan was that,
despite their growing up in a hostile environment, every single one of
his children was a pious and religious Jew.

Abraham had one son who followed in his righteous ways, Isaac, but he
also had another son who did not, Ishmael. Isaac had one son who was
righteous, Jacob, but he was also the father of Esau. Both Abraham and
Isaac raised their children in Israel and not in exile, yet they still
had descendants who abandoned the righteous path.

Jacob, by contrast, raised his family in exile. Required to serve G-d in
the most difficult of circumstances, he made sure that his twelve sons
would not be affected by the negative influence of Charan. On the
contrary, he strove to instill in them the Torah he had received from
his forefathers and studied with his ancestors Shem and Ever, thus
proving that it was possible to live a Torah-true life even on the other
side of the Jordan.

In Charan, Jacob merited both spiritual and material success ("And the
man increased exceedingly") by virtue of his faith in G-d. But the
spiritual "great wealth" he acquired was the successful rearing of his
children, who were all upright and devout individuals.

The lesson this contains for us at present is clear: The only one upon
whom we can ever depend is G-d, to Whom we connect ourselves through the
medium of Torah and mitzvot (commandments).

By educating our children in the ways of Torah, the eternal Torah we
have inherited from our fathers and grandfathers, we will merit to go
out of exile "with our youth and with our elders, with our sons and with
our daughters." And when Moshiach comes we will be fully prepared to
meet the Redemption.

May it be G-d's will that this happens very soon, and that we greet
Moshiach speedily in our days.

                Adapted for Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot, vol. 1

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                              Mezuza Check
                        by Rabbi Aaron Shaffier

In 1998 I was a Rabbinical student living in  Crown Heights, Brooklyn,
New York. I had just completed my apprenticeship which allowed me to
inspect mezuzas. It was between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and the
neighborhood was full with guest from all over the world who had come to
spend the High Holy Days in the synagogue of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

I got a phone call at about 11 p.m. from a man named Shlomo whom I
didn't know at the time. He told me that there was a wealthy family in
the neighborhood who had gone to spend the holidays with their relatives
in Israel. He knew that there were going to be a lot of guest visiting
Crown Heights from all over the world so he called the Hachnasat Orchim
society that arranges places for guests to stay for the holidays and
offered to make his home available to guests while he was away.

There were now several young women who were staying in his home. Three
of these girls who were sharing a room had each injured a foot or leg
since coming to stay in the house. The third injury had just happened
and they decided that they need to have the mezuzas in the home checked
right away.

I agreed to do the job and within 15 minutes Shlomo was at my dorm with
the mezuzas. These were not the regular size mezuzas that you see on
most people's homes. This man was both very wealthy and very religious
and he had made sure to purchase the best mezuzas available. They were
very large and were written in a very beautiful script.

Shlomo had put a piece of tape with a number on each Mezuzah so that he
would know where to put back each mezuza. Also he was interested to see
if there was any connection between the mezuzas and the problem.

I got to work opening and checking each mezuza, looking for anything
that might make the mezuza not kosher. The mezuzas were perfect. I was
amazed to find that the only problem in any of the mezuzas was a
hairline crack in the Hebrew letter "chof" of the word "u'velectecha"
which means "when you go."

At about 2 a.m., when I had finished checking all of the mezuzas, I
called Shlomo and told him the results. He ran back to the apartment to
see which door the damaged mezuza had been on. It turned out that indeed
it had been on the door of the room that the three girls had been
staying in!

I must point out that having a non-Kosher mezuza doesn't cause bad
things to happen. It is just that without kosher mezuzas on our door, we
are lacking the special Divine protection that G-d offers to those who
fulfill the mitzvah of mezuza properly.

                    Reprinted with permission from

                                *  *  *

                          by Michael Wilensky

The laws governing what makes a mezuza kosher are numerous and complex,
and it often happens that the passage of time can cause the lettering of
a kosher mezuza scroll to become blemished and thus invalid. Jewish law
prescribes the intervals at which mezuzas should be checked to ensure
their continued kosher status.

However, in addition to these regular examinations there is a highly
commendable and often strikingly successful tradition for individuals to
have their mezuzas checked when adverse circumstances occur as the
stories below illustrate.

One day Rabbi Aron Wolf of the Chicago Mitzvah Campaigns, received a
phone call from a Chicagoan gentleman wishing to have his mezuzas
checked. During the conversation he revealed that he was prompted to
take this action as a result of various ailments and difficulties that
had beset members of his extended family. His mother in-law, in
particular, had been struck by a serious illness, and although she lived
far away in Florida he nevertheless felt that checking his own mezuzas
at such a time was an appropriate course of action for him to take.

Sure enough, the gentleman's hunch proved to be right. All of his
mezuzas were indeed kosher, with the exception of one. The sole invalid
mezuza was the very mezuza that had been affixed to the door of the
guest room, the very room in which his mother in-law stayed whenever she
came to visit her family in Chicago!

Rabbi Wolf recently received a phone call originating from a highly
unusual location - China! The young man described how his grandfather,
Dr. BK, had been taken to the intensive care unit of a hospital near
Chicago. The patient was suffering with debilitating symptoms of an
infection that had spread throughout his body, but the hospital staff
had been unable to locate the exact source of the infection in order to
treat it effectively. Meanwhile, Dr. BK's constitution was being
severely worn down as even breathing became increasingly difficult.

At a loss for what he could do to help his grandfather all the way from
China, Dr BK's grandson suddenly had a brainwave. After some quick
searching he found the number for the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign, picked
up the phone and asked Rabbi Wolf to check the mezuzas at his
grandparents' home.

Rabbi Wolf hurried over at the first opportunity and found that indeed,
the home's current mezuzas were invalid. He thereupon immediately
affixed new, kosher mezuzas to the house. Soon thereafter Dr BK's
hospital doctors pinpointed the source of his infection and began a
suitable course of treatment. A short while later his recovery began to
pick up speed and move steadily towards full recuperation.

      Reprinted with permission from

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Moishy and Devorah Mendelson recently moved to Frankfurt, Germany,
where they are directing the youth programs children's educational
programming at the new Ingnaz Blodinger Jewish Center in Frankfurt.

Rabbi Yisroel and Yocheved Newman have established a new center in
Nebraska. Chabad of Lincoln, Nebraska, will serve the Jewish community
of Lincoln as well as Jewish students on college campuses in the area.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak and Leah Fradenshetsky recently opened a new
Chabad House in Ganei Yochanan, Israel.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
            An official translation of a letter of the Rebbe

              2nd day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, 5715 (1955)
               To the Conference of Religious Physicians,

I was pleased to be informed of your conference, designed to create an
organized body of Jewish religious physicians. Unification of religious
forces was always desirable, especially in our generation, a generation
confused and perplexed by the shattering events of recent years, as a
result of which many thinking people have become completely
disillu-sioned in the false ideas and ideologies which they had held in
the past, and are now earnestly searching for the truth.

An organized body of religious physicians could make its influence felt
in these circles through a declaration of their authoritative opinion on
several issues, which have been the subject of confused and misleading

Such a declaration should, first of all, do away with the misconception
about any conflict between science and religion. True science, the
object of which is the truth and nothing but the truth, can lead to no
conclusions which are contrary to our Torah, "the Law of Truth." On the
contrary, the more deeply one delves into science, the stronger must
grow the recognition of the truth of the fundamental principles, as well
as the ramifications, of our Jewish religion.

As physicians, in particular, you are in a position to refute decisively
the materialistic philosophy, as is demonstrated by the fact that so
much of physical health depends on spiritual health. If in modern days
emphasis was placed on "mens sana in corpore sano" [a healthy mind in a
healthy body] in our days it is a matter of general conviction that even
a small defect spiritually causes a grie-vous defect physically; and the
healthier the spirit and the greater its preponderance over the physical
body - the greater its ability to correct or overcome physical
shortcoming; so much so, that in many cases even physical treatments,
prescriptions and drugs are considerably more effective if they are
accompanied by the patient's strong will and determination to cooperate.

This principle of "mind over matter," i.e., of quality over quantity, is
further emphasized by the fact, which is continually gaining
recognition, that the vital functions of the organism do not depend on
quantity, inasmuch as the glands, and the hormones, vitamins, etc.,
which they produce, are quite minute quantitatively.

Parenthetically: It is written in our holy Scriptures, "From my flesh I
visualize G-d." Recognizing the preponderance of the soul in the
physical body (the microcosm), there remains but a small step to the
recognition of G-d, the "soul" of the Universe (the macrocosm). And in
the words of our Sages: "As the soul fills the body, vivifies it, sees,
but is not seen - so the Holy One, blessed is He, fills the world,
vivifies it, sees, but is not seen."

So much for speaking in general terms. Specifically, many are the
questions directly relating to the practice of the physician, some of
them of practical and immediate importance, on which your voice should
be heard. To mention but a few:

To declare the paramount importance of the observance of the laws of
Taharas HaMishpocha - Jewish marriage; the observance of kashrus - the
dietary laws; circumcision.

Elimination of treatment likely to cause sterility, and substituting for
it other forms of treatment; particularly, in connection with surgery on
the prostate...

Postmortem: For purposes of study of anatomy, etc., it is surely
possible to use artificial forms and models; for purposes of
ascertaining the case of death - in many cases it is not essential;
where it may be of immediate necessity to save a life (as in the case of
an accusation of poisoning, etc.), mutilation of the body should be
reduced to the essential minimum, and the parts should be buried

And so on.

Needless to say, what has been mentioned above about pointing out the
health benefits that are derived from the observance of the religious
precepts, should not be understood as an attempt to explain the precepts
by their utilitarian value. For, the Divine precepts must be observed
because they are the command and will of our Creator.

However, for the benefit of those who, by reason of spiritual
"sickness," cannot be induced to observe the precepts except by making
them aware of their utilitarian value, we must do everything possible to
urge them to observe the mitzvos in daily life, even if we have to
rationalize about the Divine commands, and emphasize their physical

                            A CALL TO ACTION
                       Be "Charitable" on Shabbat

Charity should be given each and every day. But how is this accomplished
on Shabbat, when it is forbidden to handle money? Instead of money, we
can give food and drink to guests or we can make sure to speak well of
another person, say an encouraging word to someone, pay someone a

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

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
The 9th of Kislev (which this year occurred this past Thursday) is the
birthday and yartzeit of the Mitteler Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber of Lubavitch.
Although he was only 54 years old at the time of his passing, it is
considered auspicious when a righteous person passes away on his
(Hebrew) birthday, in fulfillment of the verse "The number of your days
I will fulfill." As is known, Moses was 120 when he passed away on his
birthday, about which our Sages commented: "The Holy One, Blessed Be He,
fills up the years of the righteous from day to day." When a righteous
person departs this world on the same day he was born, it emphasizes
that his service of G-d was "full" and complete on the material as well
as the spiritual plane.

The following day, the 10th of Kislev, is also celebrated in Chabad
circles, as it marks the date in 1826 when the Mitteler Rebbe was
released from prison. Accused of illegally channeling funds to the Holy
Land, the Mitteler Rebbe refuted all the charges against him (proving
that all monies went directly to the poor) and demonstrated that the
documents used to implicate him had been forged. Indeed, the Mitteler
Rebbe so impressed the authorities that the informer who had slandered
him was told to "stop barking like a dog."

It is said that on the Shabbat afternoon when word came that the Rebbe
would be freed, he was in the midst of delivering a Chasidic discourse
on the verse "You are One." (The Mitteler Rebbe was permitted to deliver
Chasidic discourses to 50 of his Chasidim twice a week even while
imprisoned as his doctor had informed the authorities that this was
literally what kept him alive.)

May the Mitteler Rebbe's holiday of redemption lead to the ultimate
holiday of Redemption of the entire Jewish people, with the immediate
revelation of our Moshiach.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And Jacob went on his way (Gen. 32:2)

Every Jew, no matter who, is entrusted with the special mission of going
from "strength to strength" in G-d's path. We learn this from the above
passage. The name "Jacob" comes from the word meaning "ankle,"
symbolizing that this mission applies equally to all Jews, as one ankle
is indistinguishable from another. The word "went" teaches us that a Jew
must always be on the move, growing and ascending higher and higher in
his service of G-d. "On his way" indicates the way of G-d's Torah and
its laws, for which purpose an individual's soul is brought down into
this world.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Charan (Gen. 28:10)

Rabbi Pinchas said, in the name of Rabbi Abahu: According to the Torah,
whomever a person marries is predestined by G-d. Some people must go out
to meet their mate; others have their mate come to them. Isaac's wife,
Rebecca, came to him: "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field...and
he lifted up his eyes and saw, behold, there were camels coming. And
Rebecca lifted up her eyes, and she saw Isaac." Jacob, however, had to
travel to Charan to meet his future wives.

                                                   (Breishit Rabba)

                                *  *  *

And he reached (vayifga) a certain place (Gen. 28:11)

The Hebrew word "vayifga," "and he reached," implies prayer. It was
especially necessary for Jacob to pray for guidance as he set out for
Charan, for he knew that the challenges he would find there would be far
more trying than those he had experienced in the rarefied atmosphere of
the yeshiva. He therefore prayed for the strength to withstand the
difficult trials he would encounter.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *

The day is yet long (Gen. 29:7)

Such is the way of the world: When a person is in his prime, he sees no
need to hurry, as he still has plenty of time to devote to refining his
character - "the day is yet long." When that long-delayed time comes,
however, he finds that the day is almost over.

                                             (Maharish of Mezritch)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The poritz (nobleman) and his son were having a heated argument. The
son, an only child, had asked his father for permission to go hunting
with his friends in the dense forests around the city of Liozhna. The
elderly father, concerned for his son's safety, had refused to grant it.
The father's opposition to what he considered a dangerous venture seemed

At the height of the argument, however, the poritz had suddenly stopped
speaking. For a few minutes he was silent, lost in thought. "I will let
you go on one condition," he finally decided. And indeed, it was a very
odd stipulation.

"In the city of Liadi there lives a famous Rabbi. He is the spiritual
leader of all the Jews in this area, and every word he utters is
considered holy. Go to this Rabbi and ask his blessing. If you promise
to do this, I will let you go hunting." The son was very surprised, but
gave his word. The next day he left on the expedition.

In those few moments of silence, the poritz's memory had carried him
back to the time he had served as an interrogator in the main prison in
Petersburg. Although he had interrogated hundreds if not thousands of
prisoners in the course of his career, his experience with the Rabbi who
had been charged with rebelling against the government was something he
could never forget. His regal bearing, majestic long beard and deeply
expressive eyes were permanently engraved on the nobleman's heart.

He could remember the Rabbi's answers to the interrogators' questions as
if he had heard them just yesterday. The wisdom and truth they contained
had been evident in every word, and the poritz had been extremely
impressed by the Rabbi's character. In fact, the Rabbi's subsequent
release from jail and the dropping of all charges against him were in
large part due to the poritz's intervention.

The Rabbi, of course, was the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi,
founder of the Chabad Chasidic movement, whose opponents had slandered
and libeled him to the authorities. But despite the accusations, the
young interrogator had been convinced that the Rabbi was a G-dly man.
Now, decades later, the poritz felt that if his only child could see the
holy Rabbi for himself, it would somehow set his own mind at ease.

Unfortunately, the poritz's misgivings proved to be well founded. A few
weeks into the expedition the hunting party had been halted by a
blinding rainstorm. The son, who had wandered off from the rest of his
friends, was alone in the middle of the forest. Seeking shelter under a
tree, he had no choice but to wait for the storm to pass. But the
weather did not improve, and only grew worse. It was several days until
the storm abated.

Soaked to the bone, hungry and sick, the poritz's son despaired of ever
leaving the forest. It was truly miraculous when he eventually found a
path through the foliage and succeeded in dragging himself to an inn on
the outskirts of Liozhna.

The next day, burning with fever, he suddenly remembered his promise to
his father and resolved to fulfill it. With his last ounce of strength
he arose from bed and set out for the city to find the famous Rabbi.

Once in town he soon learned that Rabbi Shneur Zalman had recently
passed away. The poritz's son felt a pang of conscience until the Jews
informed him that the Rabbi had left a successor, his son Rabbi Dovber
(the Mitteler Rebbe), who was also a holy person. But the Mitteler Rebbe
was no longer living in Liozhna, and now resided in Lubavitch.

There was no rational explanation for the urgency he felt to see the son
of the famous rabbi his father had praised so highly. Nonetheless, he
hired a carriage and set out for Lubavitch, despite the weakness from
his illness.

That night, when the poritz's son arrived in Lubavitch, he was
disappointed to learn that the Rebbe was addressing his Chasidim and
would not be receiving visitors. But the young nobleman would not be
turned back. Undaunted, he insisted on being told the exact location
where the Rebbe was speaking.

The study hall was packed to the rafters, so that no one noticed the
stranger when he entered. In the front of the room the Mitteler Rebbe
was seated at a table saying a Chasidic discourse. The poritz's son was
astounded by the scene. Such a large crowd of people, yet everyone was
silent and focused on the Rebbe. He found himself rooted to the spot.

About an hour later it occurred to him how odd it was that he was
standing, given the state of his health. When he left the study hall he
could actually feel his strength returning, which he had no doubt was in
the merit of the holy Rabbi. He was also very grateful for having been
able to fulfill his promise to his father.

    This story was related many decades later by the poritz's son - by
    then a nobleman in his own right - to a Chabad Chasid.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
In the Talmud (Pesachim 119b) our Sages described the Redemption as a
feast. To echo this analogy, the table has already been set, everything
has been served, and we are sitting at the table together with Moshiach.
All we need to do is open our eyes.

              (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbat Vayeitzei, 5752-1991)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1097 - Vayetzei 5770

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